Southern Theatre

1165 Grant Street,
Akron, OH 44304

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Located at Grant Street and Coles Avenue. The Southern Theatre was opened in 1917. It was closed on July 31, 1963 with a double bill German film program. It reopened as a live country & western music venue which closed on April 23, 1967. It was demolished in 1979.

Contributed by Mark Gregg

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 1, 2011 at 9:36 am

Cinema Treasures currently says that the Southern Theatre has been demolished, but I wonder if the building is still standing? A May, 2011, obituary for Mr. Raymond L. Spayne says that he was the owner and operator of the Southern Theater and Southern Tap Room in Akron.

The Southern Tap Room is located at 1169 Grant Street. Here’s a photo. The door to the upstairs of the building has the address 1165. There is an adjacent storefront, with no address on display, that might have been the theater entrance at one time. The building looks a bit too small for the listed seating capacity of 550, though.

If the theater was not in the same building as the bar, then it must have been on what is now a parking lot next door. The driveway apron there looks very old and worn, so if the theater was on that lot it must have been demolished ages ago.

richhd5again on September 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

The Southern was almost certainly located on the vacant lot.I would go past it in the late 1980s and it was a country music venue at that time.If my memory serves, the logo on the Southern Tap Room was very similar to the logo on the marque.I have not been by there in many years but am suprized it is gone.

abby on January 21, 2012 at 1:24 am

The Southern Theatre was located on the vacant lot. The Southern closed in 1963. The theater became The Southern Jamboree-country music. In the late 1970’s it was demolished. The Southern Tap Room closed in 2008. Nice to know people still remember the Southern.

Lin on June 24, 2013 at 7:39 pm

Oh those are some sweet memories. My dad, Tennessee Slim and his band played there. All four of us siblings performed with him. My brother was on the rhythm guitar and we three sisters sang! I met my husband there, I just didn’t know it at the time! :–)

Suez12 on July 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Does anyone have pictures of the old theater inside or outside?

dallasmovietheaters on February 8, 2023 at 9:33 pm

Vernon E. Sager opened the new-build Southern Theater in 1917 and his confectionery experience was put to good use in the concession area. The theater was then operated by Elizabeth Sager who installed sound in 1930 to remain viable. She sold the theater to the Spayne family in 1932 who ran both it and, later, the neighboring tavern for decades. Nicolas and then Ray Spayne steered the theater to closing in the 1960s.

Continuous movie operation ended with German language films on July 31, 1963 playing “Der Traeumende Mund” and “Weisser Holunder.” The venue was then refreshed and had a grand reopening as the Southern Theatre playing live Country and Western music. A live simulcast on radio proved popular running to April 23, 1967 likely at the end of a second, 25-year leasing period. The theater appears to have had a period of vacancy thereafter. The Spaynes decided to raze the theatre’s auditorium in 1979 to provide parking for their tavern next door.

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