Information for this tour was contributed by Daniel Gibbs.
This bizarre building was one of the minor downtown palaces. The original structure opened in the 1870's as a giant indoor swimming pool (!), was remodeled as a live theatre in the 1890's. The current structure dates to 1903. This theatre (then called the Auditorium Theatre) was operated by Capt. James Kernan, CSA, in conjunction with the Maryland Theatre around the corner. (The Maryland was torn down in 1953; its great chandelier currently graces one of the lobbies -- I think the Senate lobby -- in the U.S. Capitol building.) The Auditorium was primarily a live theatre with some forays into movies, but became a film house for good in 1941, when its name was changed to Mayfair. It got a thorough remodeling at the time. It closed in 1986 and, thanks to a very bad landlord -- the City of Baltimore -- it is basically destroyed. It was all but ignored for the last twenty years and in 1998 its roof collapsed. It's still standing, but no telling how much longer.
June 1992 photos from the John Lewis collection.
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