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COLUMBIA THEATER

The COLUMBIA THEATER, 2071 E. 9th St., opened on 26 Oct. 1913 as the Miles Theater under the direction of president and general manager Chas. H. Miles. The 2,000-seat theater cost nearly $500,000. Billed as "America's most beautiful vaudeville palace," it was decorated in the Louis XIV style in a color scheme of old rose, ivory, cream, and gold, with DuBarry damask on the walls and mahogany seats upholstered in rich green velour, which matched the carpeting. The stuccoed walls contained 2 French murals on the spaces over the proscenium boxes. The auditorium contained 12 proscenium boxes, 26 mezzanine boxes, and 2 aero boxes. The backs of the seats were equipped with slot machines that would dispense candy for $.05. In 1920 the Miles Theater became a burlesque house and changed its name to the Columbia. Movies were introduced in 1931, when it became the Great Lakes Theater. Between 1935-37 the theater suffered an identity crisis. For a while in 1935 it was called the Miles again and featured vaudeville and first-run movies, then it was a movie theater called the Carter. In 1936 it became the Federal Theater--part of the Federal Theater Project of the WPA. Operating as the Miles again, it was called a "flophouse with a soundtrack" by a 1937 article in the PLAIN DEALER. Sometime in 1937 it became the Carter again, owned by the Community Theater Circuit. In 1954 the plaster ceiling fell, injuring 10 patrons. The theater was torn down in Dec. 1959.