Capitol Theater

213 W. Main Street,
Frankfort, KY 40601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Chakeres Theaters Inc.

Architects: Oscar Cobb, John J. Curtis, Leon K. Frankel

Firms: Frankel and Curtis

Previous Names: Frankfort Opera House

Nearby Theaters

Capitol Theatre Demolition

Built in 1883 as the 950-seat Frankfort Opera House. It was renamed Capitol Theatre in the 1900’s. It was open in 1971 when I was projectionist. Last known movies shown included “The Godfather”, “Billy Jack”, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”, “Pocket Money”, and “Summer of ‘42”.

Closed on October 20, 1977 with William Devane in “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training”. It was demolished in 1979.

Contributed by CRAIG ESCHERICH

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

NapoleonSolo on June 27, 2011 at 11:31 pm

The Capitol Theater did not close in 1974, it closed in 1978 and was demolished in 1979.

bigdan409 on August 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm

It was actually located on the odd side of the 200 block of West Main St. When they tore it down they rebuilt a building there which is now the Dept. of Insurance located at 215 West main St.

rkfrazee on September 5, 2011 at 7:32 am

The address of the Capitol was actually 213 West Main Street. At one time the building was owned by the city of Frankfort. During the early years, City Hall was located on the second floor of the theatre. Built as an opra house, the theatre had a fly loft and large stage. Dressing rooms were located below the stage.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 1, 2011 at 5:39 am

The Capitol Theatre was built in 1883 as the Frankfort Opera House, and was designed by none other than the noted Chicago theater architect Oscar Cobb. It was among the buildings listed in a 1971 survey of historic sites in Kentucky, prepared for the Kentucky Historical Commission.

The Frankfort Opera House and City Hall was also listed in an advertisement for Cobb’s firm that appeared in the 1884-1885 edition of Harry Miner’s American Dramatic Directory, and in an article about Cobb in a book about the Chicago Board of Trade published in 1885. Here, from the latter publication, is a list (probably not exhaustive) of theaters Cobb had designed up to that time:

“Wieting Opera House, Syracuse, N. Y.; Grand Opera House, Minneapolis, Minn.; Haverly’s new Columbia Theatre, Chicago, Ill.; Grand Opera House, St. Louis, Mo.; Schultz & Co.’s Opera House, Zanesville, O.; Coates' Opera House, Kansas City, Mo.; Nat. Mem. Theatre, Soldiers' Home, Dayton, O.; Faurot’s Opera House and Block, Lima, O.; Black’s Opera House, Springfield, O.; Sloane House and Block, Sandusky, O.; Academy of Music, Chicago, Ill.; Keokuk Opera House, Keokuk, Ia.; Standard Theatre, Chicago, Ill.; Heuck’s New Opera House, Cincinnati, O.; Opera House and City Hall, Frankfort, Ky., Doxey Theatre, Anderson, Ind.; Wood’s Opera House and Block, Sedalia, Mo.; Wilhelm’s Opera House, Portsmouth, O.; Case Opera House, Norwalk, O.; Washington Opera House, Maysville, Ky.; Louisville Opera House, Louisville, Ky.; Knowls Opera House, Washington, Kan.; New Grand Opera House, St. Louis, Mo.; Wellington City Hall and Opera House, Wellington, O.; Selma Opera House, Selma, Ala.; Belleville Opera House and Block, Belleville, Ill.”

epicmovieman on June 21, 2013 at 5:56 pm

The photo of Main St. in Frankfort had to be taken no earlier than 1946. The movie showing at the Capitol Theatre was “Tars and Spars” starring Janet Blair. That movie was released in January, 1946. It is sad that the Capitol Theatre was not saved. It was a historical building that should never have been demolished. At least the Grand Theatre was saved, but it was strictly a no frills theatre compared to the Capitol. The folks that saved the Grand need to be commended for their efforts. It really looks nice, and provides a wonderful entertainment venue for Frankfort.

dredmon on November 21, 2016 at 3:43 pm

This is not the Capitol Theatre in Frankfort, KY. It did not have a stone building sitting towards the back of it. It, along with the other buildings on the street, were all aligned along the edge of the sidewalk.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2016 at 4:48 pm

dredmon: The photo was taken from the stage end of the building, so the stone building in the background was not behind the theater but across the street from it. The stone building, First Federal Savings Bank of Frankfort, is still standing at the northeast corner of West Main and Lewis Streets.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 10, 2017 at 8:00 am

The finding aid to the Frankel and Curtis architectural records at the University of Kentucky lists the following: “Remodeling project comprised of 49 pages of construction and record drawings, including elevations, sections, floor plans, details, schedules, and sizes of materials.” The records pertaining to the Capitol are dated 1929 and 1936. The Frankel and Curtis collection has not yet been digitized.

50sSNIPES on January 22, 2024 at 7:34 pm

The Frankfort Opera House originally housed 950 seats and an estimate $20,000 on construction, which began in March 1883. It was renamed the Capitol Theatre in the 1900s.

The 814-seat Capitol Theatre closed for the final time on October 20, 1977 with “The Bad News Bears In Breaking Training”.

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