The Grand is one of the 22 theaters in my new book “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater.” Find out more here.
The Grand Theatre building was built in 1885 by German immigrant Jacob Griesinger, Sr. in Steubenville, Ohio. It originally housed a saloon, restaurant and livery stables. In 1924, the building was taken over by Charles, Edward, Howard and William Biggio. The four brothers had the stables torn down and constructed the Grand Theatre auditorium in its place.
Originally showing live entertainment, the Grand was eventually converted into a movie theater. The Grand has the distinction of being the first air-conditioned theater in Ohio. In 1979, the Grand Theatre closed for the first time. It briefly reopened and showed a few films before closing for good in the early 1980s.
Since closing, the Grand Theatre building was used for a number of different things, including storage for a local thrift shop. In 2010, the building was purchased by the Grand Theatre Restoration Project. The Grand Theatre Restoration Project, led by Scott Dressel, plans to restore and renovate the theater into a performing arts center and museum. Renovation has begun, and the lobby has already been completely restored.
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