Pantheon Theatre

327 N. St. Clair Street,
Toledo, OH 43604

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InfoPro on August 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

Oh so many fond memories of Sunday afternoon’s watching movies (and boys) at the Pantheon! Hopefully historic preservation will start to replace the tear-down mentality in downtown Toledo.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Although the spelling Sophlet somehow got into the NRHP registration form for one of their buildings, the correct spelling of the architects' surname is Stophlet. That is the only spelling I’ve found in trade journals from the period in which they practiced, but more importantly it is the spelling used in the files of the American Institute of Architects, which includes their membership application forms and other documents.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 27, 2014 at 3:45 pm

The March 27, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News said that M. M. Stophlet and M. B. Stophlet were the architects of the Pantheon Theatre. Following a precedent set a few years earlier by Detroit architect C. Howard Crane, Stophlet & Stophlet gave the Pantheon Theatre a large section of stadium seating accounting for about half the capacity of the house. They would again use the stadium configuration in Toledo’s Ohio Theatre, opened in 1921.

As in the Ohio, the architects gave the interior of the Pantheon Theatre a very simple, almost austere, style with minimal decoration, and what there was being based mostly on Roman Classical elements. The front, on the other hand, was fairly ornate, with its eclectic details including elements suggestive of both the Italian Renaissance and the Gothic styles, but not exactly replicating either. The contrast between interior and exterior must have been quite startling for the theater’s patrons.

Manfred M. Stophlet appears to have been more frequently the lead architect on the firm’s projects, with the trade journals of the period more often attributing designs to him than to his brother Mark B. Stophlet.

Nick DiMaggio
Nick DiMaggio on April 14, 2014 at 10:25 pm

Uploaded photo of new projector installed in 1961.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 8, 2014 at 8:32 pm

The May 19, 1977, issue of the Toledo Blade published this article headlined “Pantheon’s Screen Goes Dark For Final Time As Last Picture Show In Downtown Is Closed.” The theater had shown its last movie on Tuesday, May 17. The Pantheon had opened on November 19, 1919, with the Lilian and Dorothy Gish feature Broken Blossoms.

The article includes mentions of many of the Toledo movie theaters that had closed over the years. The Pantheon was the last of the more than a dozen downtown cinemas that had been in operation fifty years earlier. The only theater still open downtown after the Pantheon closed was the Esquire, which was operating as a live burlesque house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm

Here is a newspaper article about the proposed Pantheon Theatre, published in the Toledo Times, July 3, 1919.


“Pantheon Theatre Company Incorporates and Takes Over Kaiserhof Cafe.


“New Theatre to Be One of the Finest in Country; Will Seat 1,200.

“Incorporation of the Pantheon Theater Co. with a capital stock of $100,000 assures Toledo the erection of one of the finest motion picture houses in the country.

“The new company has taken over the property formerly occupied by the Kaiserhof cafe.

“The exterior of the building will be glazed terra cotta.

“A large foyer, which will accommodate more than 300, will be utilized as a dance hall on special occasions, and the dances may be made a regular feature of the program. Back of the lobby will be a large reception and music room, elaborately furnished, where concerts may be held.

“The stage will be 18 feet in depth. The proscenium will measure 30 feet and there will be an elaborate equipment of built-in sets and scenery for special features.

“Elaborate simplicity is designated as the keynote of the decorations which will make the new house one of the most beautiful in this part of the country.

“There will be no balcony, but the theatre will have a seating capacity of 1,200. A $25,000 Hope Jones organ will be installed.

“A large canopy will be built over the street and there will be a double ticket window. A new lighting system, on the order of the ‘flood light,’ will be used.

“Rest rooms, a private projection room and dressing rooms for the ushers and performers will be located in the basement. A play room for children will also be down stairs.

“H. C. Horater, John Kumler and John J. Gardiner are the incorporators of the new company. Horater, who is manager, secretary and treasurer of the Alhambra theatre, will continue as managing director of both companies. Gardiner is president of the Alhambra Co.

“The Alhambra theatre was built eight years ago.

“Four years ago Horater took the active management and with a policy of showing only the best pictures has made it one of the best known motion picture houses in the country. The most promising features procurable in motion pictures have been secured for exhibition at the new house during the coming year.“

andmsmi on May 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

M. G. Smith probably sold out to the Skirballs in the mid 50’s.

andmsmi on May 27, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Martin G. Smith and the Skirball Brothers owned and operated the Pan-Pal Corporation that owned the Pantheon and the Palace. The compelling reason was that Smith’s Pantheon was larger and the Skirballs could obtain better films. Hence the Skirball films were shown in Smith’s Pantheon and Smith films in the Skirball’s Palace.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2011 at 7:21 am

Skirball Brothers Theatres had the interior of the Pantheon completely rebuilt in 1961. There are three photos of the completed project on this page of the October 2 issue of Boxoffice. The seating capacity was reduced to 808.

kencmcintyre on May 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Circa late 1950s from the Toledo Public Library:

kencmcintyre on September 14, 2007 at 8:25 pm

The Pantheon was operated by the Skirball Investment Company in the early eighties.

MikeyFortune on August 17, 2006 at 11:09 am

The Pantheon stood across the street from the Princess Theatre on St. Clair Street. The Valentine, still standing, was on the same side of St. Clair one block north of the Pantheon. The Palace and the Rivoli stood directly across from the Valentine. The Pantheon, Palace and Rivoli were part of the Skirball chain. The Pantheon was the primary theatre for Disney films. In the late sixties it also was the home for many roadshow engagements like “My Fair Lady” and “Lawrence Of Arabia”. In later years it became the home for many blaxploitation pictures. It outlasted the wrecking ball for many years after it closed as the lobby was converted to a Taylor Photo Shop. During it’s heyday there were two storefronts by the boxoffice. One was occupied by Joey’s Record Mart, a very popular place to purchase vinyl 45 rpm records. The theatre was demolished in 1999 at the same time the preservation of the Valentine was underway. Toledo had at one time a thriving theatre district. A pity that only one survived.