Lyric Theatre (Gay Street)

800-804 S. Gay Street,
Knoxville, TN 37902

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rivest266 on December 6, 2021 at 3:19 pm

September 26th, 1872 grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 14, 2014 at 2:14 am

The November 9, 1901, issue of the New York Dramatic Mirror reported that Staub’s Theatre in Knoxville had reopened on October 14 after having been rebuilt over the previous summer at a cost of $40,000. The architect for the project was Frank Cox.

SeeingI on January 11, 2011 at 8:26 am

@ TNTIM: Oh, it kills me to see those! Such a beautiful venue to be demolished in favor of a glass-slab office!

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on July 31, 2010 at 1:02 pm

As Staub’s Theatre this house is listed under Knoxville in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide. It was managed by Fritz Staub and had 1,150 seats. There was gas illumination, and the theater was on the ground floor. The proscenium opening was 30 feet square, and the stage was 38 feet deep. There were 7 in the house orchestra. On the same page in the Guide there are ads for the Hotel Imperial in Knoxville and the Knoxville Transfer Company which handled theatrical scenary and baggage. Newspapers were the Tribune, Journal, and Sentinel, and hotels for show folk were the Flanders, Imperial, Palace, and the McMillon. Railroad was the Southern. The 1897 population of Knoxville was 45,000.

tntim on July 31, 2010 at 12:29 pm

A picture of the Lyric with audience can be found here:
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tntim on April 16, 2005 at 9:50 pm

Yes, lost memory, you are correct, the Staubs was renamed the Lyric in the early 20’s. Lowe’s had taken over the operation of the Staubs in 1920 and remodeled the theatre as their flagship theatre in Knoxville and changed the name to Lowe’s Theatre. Lowe’s also installed a 4 manual 26 rank (?) Moller pipe organ at that time. Lowe’s gave up on the theatre after only two years and the name was changed to the Lyric, this is the name that most Knoxvillians remember it by. In the 1940’s the theatre was used mostly for wrestling matches. The stage was large enough, (some accounts say 50 feet deep) that ringside seating was on stage. The theatre was torn down with the organ still in the chambers in 1956 to make way for a department store that was never built.

As a side note, when the Tennessee Theatre opened in 1928, “Wings” was playing at the Lyric.