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Louisville Palace

In the golden age of Hollywood, Fourth Street was THE place to take in a movie. Arguably, the most gorgeous of those movie houses is today known as the Louisville Palace - the subject of this Et Cetera.

The Louisville Palace, located on the east side of Fourth Street between Broadway and Chestnut, opened as Loew’s Theatre the morning of September 1, 1928. The Spanish Baroque-style theater was designed by famed architect John Eberson and reportedly cost over two million dollars.

The stunning lobby and grand foyer are richly decked-out in vibrant shades of blue, red and gold.

The curved, vaulted ceiling hosts a who’s-who of famous men – including Socrates, Beethoven, Abraham Lincoln, and even the Palace’s architect himself. There are some 140 figures carved there.

The 27-hundred seat theater - the biggest in town - is just as impressive. Designed to mimic a Spanish courtyard, the theater features dimly lit grottos and a deep midnight blue ceiling sprinkled with tiny twinkling stars.

The property has had a tumultuous history, being renovated, sold, and renamed several times.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and has operated officially as “Louisville Palace” since 1998.

The Louisville Palace Theatre is a popular venue for movies, corporate functions, holiday gatherings and, of course, live entertainment. Rosemary Clooney, BB King, Celtic Women, and the Broadway musical CATS are just some of the major acts to grace its stage.

More facts about the Louisville Palace:

  • The site where the Louisville Place sits was once home to St. Joseph’s Infirmary.
  • According to The Encyclopedia of Louisville, the first film to be shown at the theater (on opening day) was the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer comedy Excess Baggage.
  • Originally, the Palace had a one thousand-pipe Wurlitzer theater organ.
  • The theater is L-shaped.
  • The Louisville Palace operated as a nightclub in the early 1980s.
  • The premiere of HBO documentary THE LEOPARDS TAKE MANHATTAN: THE LITTLE BAND THAT ROARED, featuring the Louisville Leopard Percussionists, premiered at the Louisville Palace in January 2008.

For historical photos of Louisville Palace, visit the Library of Congress.

Program 215
Sculptor Ed Hamilton, Chef Joe Castro and GE's Monogram Experience Center, and a visit to The Schmidt Museum of Coca-Cola® Memorabilia. Donovan Reynolds, president of Public Radio Partnership, is our guest. (#215)