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Patterson Theatre

1992 Photo from the John Lewis collection
3136 Eastern Ave
Baltimore MD 21224
(410) 675-0943

Visit Website Live Theatre
Record #3373  
 Opened: 1930
Architect(s): John J Zink
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Patterson Theatre 1 & 2

Information for this tour was contributed by Ed Dobbins.

The Patterson Theater opened in 1910, primarily as a movie theater with a dance hall on the second floor. Owned for many years by Harry Reddish, who later joined the Durkee organization, the Patterson closed in 1929 and was razed by Durkee to make way for the present Patterson Theater, which opened in September of 1930. The interior, designed by John J. Zink, featured a red, orange and gold paint scheme with matching draperies and crystal chandeliers and a sign over the entrance reading “through these portals walk the most beautiful girls in the world.”

The Patterson Theater was managed by the Grand Theater Company, an affiliate of Durkee Enterprises who built most of the movie houses of the '20s and '30s, and who also operated the Grand Theater on Conkling Street. A fire in November 1958 damaged the interior architectural features of The Patterson. The building was twinned in 1975 and the theater closed in 1995.

Up until 1995, the Patterson Theater was an important neighborhood institution. As stated in the Landmark Designation Report from the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) The Patterson represented “many of the complexities of a working class social network. In its simple design the building fit into the neighborhood and became a haven of retreat from the toils of everyday life…The most prominent feature, unique in Baltimore are the Marquee and the Art Deco sign… the only vertical marquee left in Baltimore that is lighted by a plethora of bulbs. In fact, it is a rare artifact throughout the country.


The Creative Alliance reopened The Patterson as a multi-purpose arts center on May 16, 2003. U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski lead a dramatic marquee lighting ceremony with special guests John Waters, Vince Peranio, David Simon and Mayor Martin O’Malley. The facility includes two galleries for contemporary art, a 250 seat flexible theater, a classroom, media lab, offices and live/work studios for artists making The Patterson - and Highlandtown - their home.

Since the bulldozers broke ground on the project in April 2002, the impact on Highlandtown has been dramatic. Real estate prices and property investment have climbed as new residents and businesses move to the neighborhood.

The Creative Alliance at The Patterson draws audiences, artists and media attention to Southeast Baltimore. Our programming partnerships with organizations like the Patterson Park CDC, Southeast CDC, Friends of Patterson Park, the Enoch Pratt Free Libraries and area schools are creating positive changes in neighborhoods once in free fall decline.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

October 1992 photos from the John Lewis collection.

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Photos from the Ed Dobbins collection.

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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 4/13/2013.

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