Nixon Grand Theater

N. Broad Street and W. Montgomery Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19122

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Additional Info

Architects: Paul J. Henon, Jr., William H. Hoffman, Thomas White Lamb, George Plowman

Firms: Hoffman-Henon Co.

Styles: Moorish

Previous Names: Grand Opera House

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Text from the book “Philadelphia Theaters” by Irvin R. Glazer:-

‘The Grand Opera House-located at N. Broad Street and W. Montgomery Avenue, miles from the theatre district-opened in 1888 as the home of the National Opera Company, initiating a brief phase of Philadelphia having two opera houses, which would last only until 1892. Designed by George Plowman for the Betz Brewing Company, the Grand Opera House underwent numerous alterations, including those by Thomas Lamb in 1913 and Hoffman-Henon Co. in 1923. The large orchestra floor had 40 rows, allowing a capacity from 3,000 to 4,000. Later the Grand Opera House became the Nixon Grand Theater and was one of two major vaudeville houses in the city.

The fourth largest theatre ever erected in Philadelphia, the Grand Opera House maintained its original fa├žade, resembling that of a Betz brewery, throughout its 53-year duration. Twenty-nine windows fronted the office-building section of the theatre. The stage house was 60 feet deep and 150 feet wide, and towered one and a half stories higher than the auditorium section. Interior photographs taken just before demolition show a Moorish design, smothered in fringed and tasselled draperies. After several major fires, the building was demolished in 1940.

Contributed by Lost Memory, Ken Roe
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