Since 1926, Tampa Theatre has served as one of America’s most elaborate movie palaces.
The theatre was designed by famed architect, John Eberson, who pioneered what he called, ‘the atmospheric theatre.’
“What makes Tampa Theater so special among all the other historic theatres left in the country was our architect and his name was John Eberson,” said Jill Witecki, Tampa Theatre Director of Marketing and Community Relations. “We still have our original fixtures. Our original furniture. Our original tapestries on the walls. Our original pipe organ. So, that alone is enough reason to stop by and come see us.”
There is not a single other theatre in the entire world that has so many of its original trappings as the Tampa Theatre.
For instance, the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Organ was originally installed when the theatre opened in 1926 to accompany silent films.
“This is one of the few theatres still operating today. More so even with having an organ and its original organ,” said Cliff Shaffer, Theatre Organ Society President who maintains the organ. “There are very few theatres that have their original organ. And it’s just an experience that you don’t get to see anywhere else.”
The Tampa Theatre has served as an incredible historic landmark since it opened its doors more than 90 years ago.
Though in 1973, the theatre almost closed, but with the help of community leaders, the City of Tampa banded together and purchased the theatre for $1.
Since being rescued, the Tampa Theatre now is one of the most utilized venues of its kind in the country. More than 600 events are hosted by the theatre each and every year, which include classic films, independent films, concerts, special events, tours and educational programs.
“We love this building and our favorite thing to do is tell its story,” said Witecki. “This gem of the Tampa community is open to everyone all the time, 364 days a year to come see this amazing part of Tampa’s history.”
Want to learn more about the history of Tampa Theatre? Join them for an exclusive tour! Visit tampatheare.org for more information.
“I can’t believe that people that live in Tampa and have lived there all their life have never been here to see it because it really is unique,” said Shaffer.