1112 Walnut Street,
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Previously operated by: Mid-States Theaters Inc.
Architects: Harvey Hannaford
Firms: Samuel Hannaford & Sons
Previous Names: Emery Auditorium
The Emery Theater was built in 1912 as the auditorium for the Ohio Mechanic Institute building, a trade school. By 1950 it was operated by the Mid-States Theaters Inc. From 1978 until 1999 the American Theatre Organ Society ran silent and sound films here.
Prior to its film years, the Emery Theater was home to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra from 1912 until they moved to the Music Hall in 1936. On the Emery Theater’s stage over the years appeared Russian ballet dancer Nijinsky, actresses Bette Davis and Katherine Cornell and composer George Gershwin, who played his famous “Rhapsody in Blue” with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra shortly after he had premiered it at Carnegie Hall in New York.
The Emery Theater, which is now closed, is owned by the University of Cincinnati.
The Wurlitzer Organ from the RKO Albee Theater (1927-1974) was moved to the Emery Theater in 1969 and totally rebuilt in the space of eight years. The organ pipes were placed on the rear portion of the stage and for the next twenty years silent, sound, and 3D films were shown on the weekends. The original seating of 2,200 was reduced to 1,360 by closing the second balcony to the public.
The architect for the Emery Theater was Harvey Hannaford of the famous architectural firm of Samuel Hannaford & Sons, which also designed the 1878 Music Hall, 1908 Memorial Hall, Cincinnati City Hall and many other impressive structures in Cincinnati.
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