Court Theatre

1200 Chapline Street,
Wheeling, WV 26003

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 12, 2022 at 3:09 pm

This web page from the Ohio County Public Library says that the Court Theatre opened in September, 1902 and closed in 1982.

What may have been the high point in the Court’s history came rather late, when it hosted the world premier of the 1971 movie “The Fool’s Parade,” which was set in West Virginia in the 1920s and partly filmed in nearby Moundsville. Stars, including Jimmy Stewart, Kurt Russell and Strother Martin attended the event, as told in this article from 2016.

I have finally found an interior photo of the Court’s auditorium, but it is a very sad one, as it is a recent shot showing the gutted space in use as a paring garage. It is on this Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm

The April 9, 1938, issue of The Film Daily said that the Court Theatre in Wheeling was to be modernized throughout. The work was to be completed by June 10.

The remodeling is briefly mentioned in a reminiscence about Wheeling’s theaters by Earl Summers, Sr., who had been concertmaster at some of the early houses, including the Court (published in the Autumn/Winter, 1982, issue of Upper Ohio Valley Historical Review, which is available as a PDF here.) Summers says that the Court’s original large stage was greatly reduced to accommodate more seating, so the house was no longer able to present the live road show productions it had once hosted.

Sadly, the 1938 remodeling probably also did away with the original design of the elegant foyer seen in this 1904 photo. I’ve never seen photos of the auditorium, but if it was a good as the foyer it must have been splendid.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

Error in the architect field: There should be no “s” in the architect’s first name. It’s Edward Bates Franzheim.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on May 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Here is my picture from April 2011.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on December 14, 2008 at 8:19 am

What a beautiful photo of the lobby! I wonder what its current condition is.