The Grand Theatre was one of five theaters that operated in historic downtown Frankfort, Kentucky, between the mid 1800’s and the 1970’s,and it is the only one still existing with its theater configuration intact. The larger and more elegant Capitol Theatre was torn down in the 1970’s and the other three theaters were permanently converted into office space. The Grand was originally built in 1911 as a small (135 seat) vaudeville house. Silent movies were also shown, and in the late 1920’s, the theater was wired for “talkies”.
In 1940, the Grand went through a significant transformation. A new 600 seat theater was added to the back of the original theater which became the entrance and. The renovation was done moderne style, popular at the time, and the Grand Theatre was operated as a movie theater by Chakeres until it closed in 1966. Since closing, the property has been used for a variety of commercial purposes, the most recent being real estate offices and an auction center.
On January 12, 2005, a nonprofit group, Save the Grand Theatre, Inc., purchased the property with the purpose of renovating the Grand into a multi-purpose community arts center. Until the $3.7 million is raised to complete renovation, the existing space will be used for a variety of arts programming and fundraising.
Save the Grand Theatre, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization formed in 2002 for the purpose of renovating the historic Grand Theatre and establishing it as the “center for the arts” in Kentucky’s Capital city.
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