Hippodrome Theater

234 W. Federal Street,
Youngstown, OH 44503

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wolfgirl500 on February 11, 2015 at 10:37 am

The full address for the Hippodrome was 234 West Federal Street in the Hippodrome Arcade.

wolfgirl500 on February 11, 2015 at 9:25 am

When it came to movies at the Hippodrome most were second run even in the days before the Palace or Warner or Liberty while the Park Theater was a first Run house up to the mid 1940’s when it could no longer compete with the Palace, State, Pareamount or Warner.

wolfgirl500 on April 23, 2014 at 4:41 pm

In its day, the Hipp riveled the Park as to the stage shows it brought in, but once the Keath Albee Palace was built, the Hipp couldn’t compete and finally closed and it’s location was turned into the Greyhound Bus Station with the loading area where the stage was once located. The Park Theatre hung on till 1948 when an accident on stage caused severe damage to the flys and ended the theaters as a major live venue and it ended up as a burlesque house. A sad ending for a grand old theater.

wolfgirl500 on April 23, 2014 at 4:07 pm

Gentlemen, first thank you for your interest in Youngstown’s theatrical history. The entrance to the Hippodrome was inside the Hippodrome Arcade, half way between Federal and Commerce Streets. There were numerous stores inside the Arcade so it was like a mini-mall. The Dome Theatre was two doors west of Hazel Street on the North Side of the Street. The Liberty Theatre was nearby, and across the street was the Orpheum Theatre at the site that the State Theatre sat on. As to the Esquire/Family Theatre, it was located on South Champion Street acros the street from the Park Theatre and was also known as the Princess Theatre. This theatre was primarily a vaudeville/burlesque house that alo showed movies. This theatre started its life as the Family Theater, changing to Princess later on and keeping that name till tht early 1930’s when it became known as the Grand Theatre specializing in Burlesque strip tease shows until the late 40’s when burlesque moved over to the Park Theatre and its'name was changed once again to the Esquire Theatre and dropped the live shows. By mid 1950 this small theater was demolished. As to the Park heatre, it would be demolished in the mid 1960’s because of Urban Renewal. The Regent Theater on the lower East end of Federal was also demolished in the mid 1960’s for the same reason.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2014 at 2:48 pm

The Dome’s main entrance was three doors west of Hazel, so 204 sounds about right. The Dome also had a secondary entrance from Hazel Street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Ron, the stage of the Hippodrome backed up to Commerce Street, but the theater entrance was through an arcade opening on Federal Street.

wolfgirl500 on February 18, 2011 at 6:12 am

For a city the size of Youngstown, it’s amazing how many theaters it had both legitamate, vaudeville, burlesque, and movie. Fred Childress, the former theater editor/critic for the Vindicator ran the following column on some of the old houses including the first theater in the city, and the Princess Theatre known at various times as the Family Theater; Princess Theater; Grand Theater and finally the Esquire Theater.


Theater History In Youngstown

View link

Sadly, it’s difficult to locate the history of most of the old theaters, and all we have to go on are newspaper ads on the theater pages of the Youngstown Vindicator and the Youngstown Telegram.

wolfgirl500 on February 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

Here are some postcard views of the Hippodrome from the West Federal Street side which was the main entrance. The sign with the elephant was the original sign.

View link

Sorry that I don’t have any clear photographs of the views but will try to get some from the library.

wolfgirl500 on February 2, 2011 at 11:23 pm

It certainly could have been a real disaster.

During the days it was open, it riveled the Park Theater in popularity by bringing in big name shows such as Earl Caroll’s Vanities (sp), but once the Palace opened, folks gravatated to the Palace, and the Hip had to settle for lesser names and movies.

After it finally closed for good, it was completely gutted and turned into a Grayhound Bus station. The arcade portion remained quite busy right up until the building was finally demolished and a parking deck was built for the G. M. McKelvey Department Store.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I see that the October 27 Vindicator article includes a plan of the main floor of the building, making it much easier to understand the scope of the disaster. It also makes it easier to picture how catastrophic the collapse could have been had it happened not during construction but after the building had been completed and the theater opened. There might have been a large crowd of patrons in the arcade, either exiting from or waiting to enter the theater.

wolfgirl500 on February 2, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Joe: I have a hard copy of the article that ran on 10/29/1914 which is missing in the Google News copy.


There was an alley that seperated the theater from the McElroy portion and this was where it happened.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 7:10 pm

I got the date of the partial collapse of the Hippodrome building wrong in my previous comment. It was October 26, 1914, not October 6.

There is another photo of the collapse at the Hippodrome in the November, 1914, issue of trade union journal The Bricklayer, Mason and Plasterer. The item quotes a Youngstown Vindicator article of October 27, 1914. The collapse was apparently confined to the arcade portion of the building, and the theater’s auditorium was not affected.

wolfgirl500 on February 2, 2011 at 7:05 pm

The Vindicator did report it in their October 29, 1914 issue.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Construction of Youngstown’s Hippodrome was well along in the fall of 1914. On the afternoon of October 6, part of the structure failed while concrete forms were being removed, causing a partial collapse of the building. Three workmen were killed and three others injured.

The December 2, 1914, issue of trade journal Engineering and Contracting published a letter from Edward Godfrey, a leading structural engineer of the period and a long-time critic of what were then the standard methods used in reinforced concrete construction. The letter discusses the failure, and is accompanied by two photographs of the collapsed structure.

The Youngstown Vindicator must have had articles about the event, but unfortunately the issues that most likely carried them (October 7, 1914, and probably some later issues) are not available from the Google News Archive.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 5:22 pm

The June 21, 1914, Vindicator article linked above notes that the construction of the Youngstown Hippodrome was being supervised by the Cleveland architectural firm of Knox & Elliot. It doesn’t specifically state that they had drawn the plans for the building, but Wilm Knox died in 1915, and his obituary in The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder attributed the design of the Youngstown Hippodrome to the firm. Knox & Elliot also designed the Hippodrome Theatre in Cleveland. John Elliot continued to operate the firm until 1925.

TLSLOEWS on February 2, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thanks for the info wolfgirl500.