The Capitol Theater was built in 1921 by John S. Taylor, a Florida state legislator and homesteader. This classic structure, complete with a large mezzanine and furnishings reminiscent of a classic Hollywood theater, is one of the oldest operating theaters in the state of Florida. The Capitol Theater reportedly had its beginnings as a vaudeville theater and movie house, and was once the home of famous headliners who displayed their legendary talents (making history in the process) on the polished wood planks of the Capitol’s stage.
The Lokey building, located next to the Capitol Theater, was built in 1914 and was home to the Evening Sun, Clearwater’s first newspaper.
According to Gina Clayton, the Assistant Planning and Development Director at the City of Clearwater, there are key reasons these buildings deserve historical status. They are significant in Clearwater’s history, having been associated with people important to Clearwater’s history and both buildings possess distinctive architectural characteristics.
Robert A. Freedman, President & CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall and Ruth Eckerd Hall Foundation, Inc., told the Council “…the intention was always to have these two buildings renovated to historical accuracy. With this distinction we can apply for State and Federal historical designation, which would then allow us to apply for Federal tax credits.” Freedman added that “Ruth Eckerd Hall is very proud to work with the architectural team to ensure we comply with City of Clearwater standards.”
Performances at the Capitol Theater will be held prior to the renovation, which is expected to begin February 2011. Upcoming concerts and performances include an evening with Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra on Sunday, January 10 at 6 & 8:30 pm, comedian Steven Wright on January 15, Richie Havens with Sara Hickman on January 16, the NT Live screening of Nation by the National Theatre in the U.K. February 13 and 14 and St. Pete native Mindi Abair on February 19. For more information about these and other upcoming shows at the Capitol Theatre, patrons are encouraged to visit www.rutheckerdhall.com