649-651 South Fourth Street,
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Theater Square Marketplace (Official)
Firms: Joseph & Joseph
Styles: Italian Renaissance
The Kentucky Theater was opened October 6, 1921, and was designed by Joseph & Joseph, the same architects of the Kentucky Theater in Lexington. It was originally operated by the Modern Amusement Company, which also ran the Kentucky Theater in Lexington.
A 1940 remodeling increased seating from 780 to 1,100 by the addition of a balcony. The theater’s color scheme and decor was also changed at this time.
In 1984 it became home for a multimedia slide presentation promoting Kentucky tourism, but the show was short-lived and in 1986 the building closed. Ten years later the City of Louisville marked the abandoned building for demolition.
Local entrepreneur George Stinson bought the historic theater at auction to save it from the wrecking ball and in 1998 gave a no-cost lease to a band of volunteers who created a non-profit arts organization, called the Kentucky Theater Project, Inc. Since that time, organization founders worked with more than 200 volunteers to transform the Kentucky Theater into a vibrant community arts center that was due to bring new life to Fourth Street.
In 2008, the Kentucky Theatre was revamped into an upscale gourmet food mart, known as the Theater Square Marketplace.
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