Hippodrome Theatre (Baltimore)

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This article is about the theatre in Baltimore. For other uses, see Hippodrome (disambiguation).
Hippodrome Theatre
Hippodrome Theater Baltimore interior.jpg
Address 12 N. Eutaw St.
Baltimore, Maryland
Owner Hippodrome Performing Arts Center LLC
Operator Key Brand Entertainment
Capacity 2,300
Opened 1914 (1914)
Rebuilt 2004
Hippodrome Theatre (Baltimore) is located in Baltimore
Hippodrome Theatre (Baltimore)
Coordinates 39°17′23″N 76°37′17″W / 39.28972°N 76.62139°W / 39.28972; -76.62139Coordinates: 39°17′23″N 76°37′17″W / 39.28972°N 76.62139°W / 39.28972; -76.62139
Built 1914
Architect Lamb, Thomas White; Singer-Pentz Construction Co.
Architectural style Beaux Arts
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 99001670
Added to NRHP January 14, 2000[1]

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.[2]

The site had previously been occupied by the five story Eutaw House Hotel, built in 1835 and destroyed by fire on 25 May 1912.[3] The new theater had an original capacity of 3,000 seats and boasted a Moller organ, as well as a house orchestra that survived into the 1950s. The Loew's chain operated the Hippodrome from 1917 to 1924, then Keith-Albee-Orpheum assumed stewardship. During the 1930s the Hippodrome featured such performers as Jack Benny, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, 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.[4]

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 Holzman Pfeiffer Associates. The Maryland Stadium Authority led the renovation.[5] Clear Channel Entertainment (now Live Nation) became the theatre operator after project completion.[6] In 2008, Live Nation sold most of its theatrical assets, including the Hippodrome, to Key Brand Entertainment.[7]

Exterior of the Hippodrome Theater in Baltimore after its renovation in 2004


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ "The Hippodrome, Baltimore City". Maryland Historical Trust. 14 January 2000. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  3. ^ Laura Rice. Maryland History In Prints 1743-1900. p. 96. 
  4. ^ "History". The France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  5. ^ "Hippodrome Performing Arts Center". Maryland Stadium Authority. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  6. ^ Dash, Julekha (20 January 2004). "Clear Channel ready to take over Hippodrome". Baltimore Business Journal. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 
  7. ^ Robertson, Campbell (25 January 2008). "Live Nation Finds a Buyer for Its Theater Business". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-25. 

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