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Theaters in Toledo: Past, Present, and Imagined

Past: Palace Theater

In the 1920s the Palace Theater in downtown Toledo was transformed from a venue hosting vaudeville performances to a movie theater, and the architectural firm of Thal and Jokel in Toledo was hired to execute on this project. The Palace survived until 1969 when both it and the neighboring Rivoli Theater were demolished downtown.

Plan for first floor of Palace Theater

Plan for first floor of Palace Theater


Plan for balcony level of Palace Theater


Front elevation of Palace Theater


Plan for proscenium of Palace Theater


Longitudinal section of Palace Theater

Present: Westwood Theatre

The Westwood Theatre was an early adult theater that opened in Toledo in 1928, just before the stock market crash precipitating the Great Depression. The building was initially designed by Alfred A. Hahn in 1926, then later additions and alterations were made to the theater and surrounding building by the Hahn and Hayes firm in 1937. As of 2020 this building is still standing on Sylvania Avenue, though sadly vacant.

Exterior view of the Westwood Theatre in 2019


Front elevation of Westwood Theatre


Front elevation of the entrance to the Westwood Theatre


Detail for decorative carved embellishment in the Westwood Theatre


Longitudinal section of Westwood Theatre

Imagined: Evansdale Movie Theater

The Evansdale Movie Theater was an art deco and modernistic building designed by the Jokel, Coy, and Thal architecture firm of Toledo in 1940. The drawings here are only for a proposed movie theater, and it was never actually constructed, though the site of the theater would have been across from Ottawa Park on Bancroft Street.

Sketch of front exterior of Evansdale Movie Theater


Ground floor plan for Evansdale Movie Theater


Cross section of Evansdale Movie Theater


Longitudinal section of Evansdale Movie Theater

Imagined: Orchard Theater

A true mystery among all the theaters in our architectural collections is the Orchard Theater, created by Stephen M. Jokel, an architect of Toledo. The drawings have no commission number to identify them, the client has not been discovered, and the drawings only indicate that the theater was to be at the corner of Bancroft and Heyman Streets; unfortunately we also have not been able to identify where exactly Heyman Street was located either. The drawings nevertheless very much do exist and provide an example of what a theater might have been commissioned to look like in 1936.

Front elevation for Orchard Theater


Heyman Street elevation for Orchard Theater


Auditorium plan for Orchard Theater


Plan for proscenium of Orchard Theater


Transverse section of lobby and lounge of Orchard Theater