Grand Theatre

511 S. Conkling Street,
Baltimore, MD 21224

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Durkee, F.H., Enterprises

Architects: Henry Bickel

Firms: Henry L. Maas & Son

Styles: Art Nouveau, Egyptian

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Grand Theatre

One of Baltimore’s greatest old theatres, the Grand Theatre has perhaps finally met its fate. The old theatre located at 511 South Conkling Street has a green front and towers over the block. Designed by architect Henry Bickel, the Grand Theatre dates back to its opening as a six acts of vaudeville & movies house on November 10, 1913.

An impressive feature to its front exterior was its stainless steel box office. In 1926 it was taken over by F.H. Durkee Enterprises. The interior of the Grand Theatre was completely rebuilt in the summer of 1929 to the plans of architectural firm Henry L. Maas, who gave the interior an Egyptian style. The Grand Theatre was closed in October 1985 and the building remained intact and in great shape.

In December 2003/January 2004 the Grand Theatre was demolished, though its marquee, box office and some interior features have been salvaged for future use. A library was built on the site.

Contributed by ChuckVanBibber

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

PoodleMom on July 28, 2006 at 9:52 am

Thanks so much for the photos, everyone. I was talking James Bond movies with one of my friends from PA and mentioned that my My Bond consciousness first began when my family saw The Spy Who Loved Me at this huge, gorgeous, old theater called The Grand. Of course, this huge wave of nostalgia for the old theater immediately rushed over me and I began thinking about all of the movies I saw there over the years, like The Incredible Melting Man, Just Before Dawn, Madman, Bugs Bunny Superstar, Scars of Dracula (prob. the first R film I saw w/ my Dad, sister and brother), Zoltan (my mother covered my younger brother’s eyes whenever an actress went topless), Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (when it was a $2 theater), Dragonslayer, Yellowbeard, Alone in the Dark, The Pack (with my grandmother because she knew I loved dogs) and Never Say Never. It’s very depressing to know that the theater is gone for good.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2008 at 7:18 pm

As the photos show a building not on a corner, an address of 400 would be very unlikely. Also, the old ad on Kilduffs page shows the address as 511 S. Conkling. Baltimore County Public Library’s page must be the one that got it wrong. It’s nice to know that L.A.’s public library isn’t the only one that attaches the wrong information to its photos.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 7, 2008 at 7:33 pm

This scan of a 1950s ad from the Ed Dobbins collection at CinemaTour also shows the address of the Grand as having been 511 S. Conkling Street. I notice that Cinema Treasures currently has it as 508 S, so that needs changing. Put the Grand back on the correct side of the street, guys!

Chris1982 on May 4, 2014 at 9:58 pm

There was a Grand Theatre at 400 E. Baltimoree from the teens thru the 1920’s. There was another Grand Theatre on South 3rd in the 1920’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 27, 2014 at 6:42 pm

The Grand Theatre at 400 E. Baltimore was opened around 1908 by Pearce & Schenck. Three theaters of the same name all operating at the same time could have been rather confusing, but they probably each drew their patrons primarily from nearby neighborhoods.

JoeBlatz on December 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

Hello, I was the manager/operator(projectionist) the evening of the last day of the Grand Theater. After the last showing ended. I played Guy Lombardo’s recording of “Auld Lang Syne” as the exit music. All of us employees were told to keep the closing of the theater a secret. But, because I was a relief man. I contacted Jacques Kelly of the Sun newspaper and told him about it. In the meantime, we were told the closing date had been pushed back a week! His column came out and the district manager called us together and asked “Who called the newspaper.” I fessed up and surprisingly, he told me that Mr Durkee liked the news article about us closing. He also said that the theater would stay open an additional week. However, business remained very poor and we only had about 25 people at the last show. On that last night we had people from Channel 13, WJZ TV, filming the events.

I’ll have further to tell about this “GRAND” Old Lady of Baltimore’s cinema world at another time.

JoeBlatz on October 1, 2017 at 7:05 am

Chris 1982, 3rd Street was the original name of Conkling Street.

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