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Situated at the corners of Adams Avenue and Parrett Street, the Alhambra was a 350 seat theater built, at a cost of $18,000 in 1913 by Louis Wollenberger and Henry Heilman. It is named after a castle of the Moorish kings near Grenada, Spain, and it was designed in the Moorish architectural style by architect Frank Schlotter. Its lower floor originally housed a cigar shop and confectionary. The Alhambra opened on September 27, 1913. In 1913 the price of admission was five cents or twelve bottle caps of Spur Soda. An admission was good for all day, and movies played from 1:30 to 10:30. A soprano entertained patrons between shows.
The Alhambra was reputedly the first theater in Evansville to have a sound system for the new talking pictures.
George W. Burlison bought the theater from its original owners who later sold it to Premier Theaters owned by the Fine Brothers (Oscar, Jesse, and Isadore). Premier Theaters operated the Alhambra for 28 years before closing it in 1956. At the time Oscar Fine was quoted in the Evansville Courier as having said that "the neighborhood can't support the theater."
In the 1990's Riverbend Playhouse began a semi-successful effort to renovate and reuse the Alhambra. Riverbend disbanded because of legal difficulties, and title to the Alhambra languished in court for a great deal of time. Recently, ownership passed to a new non-profit owner, and the Alhambra and Haynie's Corner are at the center of the city's efforts to create an Art District.
More Pictures
Click to see the Alhambra before its latest renovation.
Click to see the Alhambra during the December 2004 snowstorm.
Click to see Alhambra Programs from the 1930s
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Alhambra Theater in 1913
Photo Courtesy Willard Library
Alhambra Theater in 1913, probably when it opened.
Click to see a larger version of this picture and to see if what's playing can help date the picture.
Alhambra September 3, 2005
Photo by Terry W. Hughes September 1, 2005
Click to see a larger version of this picture, taken from approximately the same angle as the picture above from 1913.
Red Separator
Created by Terry W. Hughes on May 4, 2005 ; updated on October 17, 2006 9:36 PM . All rights reserved.