Hippodrome Theatre, BaltimoreEdit profile
The Hippodrome Theatre is a former vaudeville theater in Baltimore, Maryland. Built in 1914 for impresarios Pierce and Scheck, the 2300-seat theater was the foremost vaudeville house in Baltimore, as well as a movie theater. The Hippodrome was designed by Thomas White Lamb, one of the foremost theater architects of his time. Lamb gave the theater an unusually strong presence on Eutaw Street through the use of brick and terra cotta on a massive façade. The Hippodrome has been recently renovated for use as a performing arts theater, and is part of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center.
The site had previously been occupied by the Eutaw House Hotel, built in 1835. The new theater had an original capacity of 3000 seats and boasted a Moller organ, as well as a house orchestra that survived into the 1950s. The Hippodrome was operated by the Loew's chain from 1917 to 1924, then by Keith's. During the 1930s the Hippodrome featured such performers as Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, MercyMe, Martha Raye, Dinah Shore, Red Skelton, the Andrews Sisters, Morey Amsterdam and Benny Goodman. Frank Sinatra first performed with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra at the Hippodrome. Live performances ceased in 1959, but movies remained strong through the 1960s. The Hippodrome finally closed in 1990 as the last movie theater in downtown Baltimore.
The most recent renovation combined three contiguous existing buildings and a new structure: the Western National Bank Building (1887), the Eutaw Savings Bank Building (1888) and the Hippodrome into a major performing arts complex, designed by Hardy Holtzman Pfeiffer Associates.