815-817 W. 5th Street,
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Architects: Albert Pretzinger
Firms: Pretzinger & Musselman
Built by Carl Anderson and Goodrich Giles, the Classic Theater in Dayton opened on August 25, 1927. It is thought to be the first theater in the United States to be built, operated and managed by African-Americans. Anderson and Giles built the Classic Theater because African-Americans were discouraged from attending the downtown theaters.
Movies were shown downstairs, while live entertainment, such as Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, took place upstairs in the ballroom. The Classic Theater had seats for 500, and first-run movies were shown.
The Classic Theater closed its doors for the last time in 1959 and despite efforts over the years to save this theater, it was demolished in October 1991. The marquee was saved and moved to storage in the hope of building another theater in the area some day.
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