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Board of Trade Building (Court Theater)

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Court Theater
1902, Edward B. Franzheim. 1910, Charles W. Bates. Southeast corner of Chapline and 12th sts.
  • (West Virginia Collection within the Carol M. Highsmith Archive, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

This rather bland office structure, built on the site of the 1839 Ohio County courthouse, incorporates a large theater within its walls. The entrance to the 1800-seat theater is at the southern end of the Chapline Street facade, while the entrance to the former Board of Trade and other offices is around the corner, centering the 12th Street facade. Both entrances have a modicum of classical enrichment. The building burned in 1909 but was reconstructed within the original walls. Charles Bates designed the reconstruction, with Franzheim and Frederic F. Faris as associate architects the second time around. The theater helped launch a second career for architect Franzheim, who served as manager for several years and starred in many of its productions. The first offering, presented in September 1902, was a musical comedy titled Miss Simplicity. The name applies equally well to the building, which was renovated and upgraded in the early 1990s.

Writing Credits

S. Allen Chambers Jr.

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