World Theatre

1229 Dorr Street,
Toledo, OH 43607

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Additional Info

Architects: Charles Howard Crane

Styles: Spanish Colonial

Previous Names: Sepia Arts Theatre

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World Theatre

The World Theatre opened in 1921 with seating for 1,244 patrons. The theatre was located on Dorr Street at Heston Street. It was styled in Spanish Colonial Revival. The World Theatre was closed as a movie theatre in December 1963.

It was briefly reopened and renamed Sepia Arts Theatre from 1971 until July 25, 1972. The building was allegedly destroyed in an arson attack. It has since been demolished.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

tomdelay on March 15, 2006 at 11:51 am

I wonder if that 1920 Barton 3/8 was not one of those early jobs with the divided Solo/Third manual.

tomdelay on March 15, 2006 at 1:10 pm

Very good. Some of those organs were like that. It seems to me one of the early Chicago radio station Bartons was also a divided manual job. I think it was an early studio instrument for either WBBM or WGN. WGN eventually had a Wurlitzer/Kimball but an earlier organ was a Barton. I do not know if any of these divided manual Barton organs are still around or not. I have two Wurlitzers here that have a “divided manual”, but this was for a Concert Roll player—even though the manual has stops for both bass and treble parts of the manual.

MikeyFortune on August 17, 2006 at 11:15 am

In the mid 70’s the World was re-named the Sepia Theatre and was operated by a small group of independent community minded individuals. As the Sepia, it programmed double features mostly action flicks.

W Frisk
W Frisk on April 15, 2011 at 10:03 pm

The architectural firm was C. Howard Crane of Detroit, Michigan. I have the full plans of the building. The Sepia Arts Theatre was the full name of the operation in the 1970’s. They actually were fairly successful with programing and live events as well. The downfall came from the same company producing a feature film entitled “The Last Jesus” in New York City, production costs mounted and ultimately the film lab refused to develop any more film and kept the stock that was already shot. One of the principals of the Sepia Arts was a neighbor and before he passed away 20 years ago I asked what the plot of the movie was and even he was not sure. The film was about 40 years ago, so has nothing to do with any book written since or the Kirk Franklin song.

W Frisk
W Frisk on April 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Now I find in the April 6, 1972 issue of Jet Magazine that “The Last Jesus” is a “semi-musical” by South African director J T Teko Menong. It was to star Kim Weston and “deal with problems as they are”. The magazine stated it was to be in Toledo, but that is where the investors were, not the filming. just a one sentence note of a project never completed.

rivest266 on February 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Found an 1921 ad at

Zachary Kreuz
Zachary Kreuz on August 26, 2014 at 12:30 am

My step father used to go there in the early sixties. The area is at present one of the worst in Toledo.

Patrick77 on January 2, 2015 at 1:16 am

I grew up 4 blocks from the World in the 1950s. They would get movies about a few weeks after they played in downtown Toledo. It cost 25 cents to get in 50 cents for adults. I remember specific movies I saw there, e.g., Ben Hur around 1959. As more blacks moved into the area, they would go to the World, and talk incessantly except when there was something exciting on the screen. Me and my siblings stopped going because we could never hear the movie. The World was part of a vibrant neighborhood shopping area on Dorr Street. When I look at the area now on Google streetscene, it’s all gone – deserted.

Damien1980 on February 12, 2017 at 1:25 am

My grandma owned Sepia. Juanita Jones. Her son, my dad Ben Starr would perform there as well as many other names Aretha Franklin, The Jones Sisters. Ben Starr was also a part of the project, “The Last Jesus.”

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