Ohio Theatre

102 W. Main Street,
Springfield, OH 45502

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Previous Names: New Sun Theatre, Bandbox Theatre

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Ohio Theatre

The New Sun Theatre was opened on November 24, 1907. On September 28, 1924 it was renamed Bandbox Theatre. On April 29, 1938 it was renamed Ohio Theatre, and it was around this time that it was taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. The Ohio Theatre was still open in 1950.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 3, 2013 at 4:12 am

This house opened on November 24, 1907, as the New Sun Theatre. It was built by Gus Sun. Sun had arrived in Springfield in October, 1904, as head of a troupe of minstrels, and later that month opened the Little Orpheum Theatre in the Fisher Building. This was the beginning of the Sun Circuit, which would grow to an extensive chain. Sun maintained his headquarters in Springfield, though the circuit had a booking office in New York City.

Before the New Sun Theatre was built, Gus Sun had formed a partnership with O. G. Murray, a broker from Richmond, Indiana. By 1908, the firm of Sun & Murray controlled ten vaudeville houses in Ohio and Indiana, and the circuit would eventually grow to some 275 houses.

When Sun’s Regent Theatre opened in 1920, it became the chain’s flagship house. I haven’t found the year the New Sun was renamed the Band Box, but it was probably around the time the Regent opened.

rivest266 on January 27, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Owned by Phil Chakeres in 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2016 at 9:07 am

I’ve found a photo of the New Sun Theatre (this page, center right), and it was in a three story building on the northwest corner of Main and Center Streets. I don’t think the two story Ohio Theatre in the vintage photo we currently display is the one in Springfield.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2016 at 9:22 am

A book called Springfield, Ohio: A Summary of Two Centuries, by Tom Dunham, says that, in the 1950s, Springfield Civic Theatre “…leased the old vaudeville theatre at Main and Center streets, but it was condemned as unsafe.” In the later 1950s the company purchased a house on Main Street which it converted into a theater.

If the Ohio was condemned in the late 1950s then there’s no chance that it was the theater in our vintage photo, which displays on its marquee the 1963 film To Russia With Love and the 1965 film Thunderball.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 12, 2016 at 2:41 am

Center Street is the dividing line for east-west addresses in Springfield, and the New Sun was on the northwest corner of Center and Main, fronting on Main, so its lot was probably numbered 100-102-104. I’m sure the address is correct.

The Ohio Theatre in the photo is still standing. I’ve just discovered that it is the house now called the Renaissance Theatre, located in Mansfield, Ohio.

SethG on May 8, 2021 at 9:57 pm

Actually, Fountain Ave is the E-W dividing line. The first block East and West is 1-99, then 100s in the second block. The 1955 map shows this as the Civic Theatre. It’s not clear whether that’s a name or function, but the ‘Movie’ note from the 1928 map has disappeared. It looks like it had stage and scenery until the end. This is another block that was completely destroyed due to neglect and the collapse of Springfield’s economy and downtown. By at least 2007, the whole thing was a vacant lot, but there is now a hospital and ocean of parking covering it.

rivest266 on April 14, 2022 at 8:22 pm

Reopened as Band Box on September 28th, 1924-1937 and as Ohio on April 29th, 1938. Grand opening ads posted.

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