216 S. Main Street,
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Gloria Theatre (Official)
Previously operated by: Chakeres Theaters Inc.
Architects: George Otis Garnsey
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Clifford Theatre, Urbana Cinema 2
Opened as the Clifford Theatre in 1905, it was designed by architect George Otis Garnsey and was destroyed by fire in 1941. It was rebuilt, opening as the Gloria Theatre on December 25, 1941. I grew up in the Gloria Theatre in Urbana, Ohio. My father, Jack Frazee, was the manager of this beautiful movie house for many years.
The theatre was built by Warren Grimes, the owner of Urbana-based Grimes Manufacturing Company. It was named for Mr. Grimes' daughter, Gloria. It has always been operated, to my knowledge by Chakeres Theaters Inc.
The building reflected the architecture of the 1940’s, with rounded corners, indirect lighting, and sweeping, Art-Deco style lines. It had an outer lobby and a huge inner lobby, in which new automobiles were often displayed. The auditorium was quite large for a small-town theatre. It probably contained about 600 seats. There was no balcony.
A unique feature of the Gloria Theatre was “Grimes Booth.” This was a private viewing room on the second floor of the theatre that was reserved for the Grimes family.
The Gloria Theatre was twined on April 1, 1977 and renamed the Urbana Cinemas. It was still in operation as a Chakeres Theatre. It was ‘temporarily closed’ for renovations in April 2010. It was reopened in October 2015 with “Ghostbusters”. Further renovations were carried out in Fall of 2021 when it became a single screen theatre. It is planned to construct a balcony seating area to increase capacity.
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