The story of a forgotten America.

Abandoned Theaters

This is a gallery of abandoned or closed theaters and drive-ins in the United States.

This is a gallery of abandoned or closed theaters and drive-ins in the United States. Additional theaters can be located under the Theater location filter.


Lincoln Theatre

The Kimmel Theatre, formed by Travis A. Kimmel, opened in 1912 at 217-219 8th Street in Cairo, Illinois. 24 The 600-seat venue shared space with the smaller Bijou Theatre. The facility was leased to Dooley and Demos in April 1914 and renamed Grand Central Theatre, 22 although this arrangement only lasted two months when the lease was revoked. 23 The facility resumed operations as the Kimmel Theatre until 1917, when it relocated to a new building elsewhere on 8th Street.

The Kimmel Theatre was sold and became the Jackson Theatre in 1932 and the Rodgers Theatre in 1936. It was renamed the Lincoln Theatre in the 1950s and continued to operate into the late 1960s. After the Lincoln Theatre closed, the building was re-purposed for the Cairo Elks Lodge No. 651, which was previously located in the adjacent Board of Trades Building.


Booneville Theater

Booneville Theater is located on Mulberry Street in Booneville, Kentucky.

Lyric Theater

The Lyric Theater, with Art Deco and Spanish Colonial Revival architectural styling, opened in 1948 as a cultural hub of the Black community at the corner of Third and Deweese Streets in Lexington, Kentucky. 16 17 During the 1950s, the Lyric hosted performances by Ray Charles, B.B. King, Billy Brown, and other notable jazz and R&B performers. 18 It also hosted movies, local concerts, pageants, and vaudeville acts.

The Lyric closed in 1963 because of dwindling patronage, largely due to desegregation. 16 The building was abandoned for nearly 50 years.

In 1996, the city of Lexington faced a lawsuit from the state of Kentucky for failing to build a cultural center downtown as it had promised. As part of the settlement, the city agreed to renovate the Lyric 19 at the cost of $6 million, 18 and a groundbreaking ceremony was held on July 16, 2009. 20

The Lyric’s grand reopening ceremony was held on October 28, 2010. 21 The rechristened Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center boasts a 540-seat proscenium theater, an African-American cultural museum, an art gallery, and a multi-purpose room. 17

Virginia Theater

The Virginia Theater is located in Somerset, Kentucky.

New York

Mountain Drive-In

The single-screen Mountain Drive-In Theater, with room for 520 automobiles, opened on the former Vantran Farm 2 by Dr. Luther Grant on June 18, 1949. The theater was later triplexed before closing in 1997.


East Bend Twin Drive-In

The East Bend Twin Drive-In is an abandoned drive-in theater near Russellville, Ohio. It opened circa 2001 and a second screen was added in 2005. By 2008, the East Bend Twin Drive-In had closed.

Foster Theater

The Foster Theatre opened on Glenwood Avenue in Youngstown, Ohio in 1939. The Art Deco-styled facility had a capacity of 800 patrons. By 1973, the theater had switched to showing adult movies, becoming the Foster Art Theatre.

Ro-Na Theater

The Ro-Na Theater opened in 1949 in Ironton, Ohio, and was billed as southern Ohio’s “finest theater.” 6 9 Among the most prominent features of the building were the lobby murals that depicted historical scenes from the region. The Ro-Na closed in the 1970s and later became an auto-parts store. 9 11 12

In February 2008, the Hampton family, owners of the Ro-Na building, donated the former theater to the city who had long hoped to restore the building to its original purpose. 5 A structural assessment conducted in June noted that the building was in good condition but required a new roof. 5 6

The city hosted a volunteering effort on July 12 to clean up the debris inside the building. 8 The Tri-State Building and Construction Trades Council, a collection of regional unions, removed additional debris later in the year. 11 The roof was replaced in July 2009 13 and on May 19, 2014, a replica of Ro-Na’s marquee was re-installed and lit on May 23. 15

Stardust Drive-In

The Stardust Drive-In Theater in Jackson, Ohio closed in 2003.



  1. “Mountain Drive-In (Liberty).” New York Drive-Ins, 3 Dec. 2009. Article.
  2. “Drive-In Theatre’s Opening is Set for Evening of June 18.” Liberty Register, 9 Jun. 1949.
  3. Malloy, David E. “Ro-Na Theater could be reopened.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 6 Jan. 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  4. Shaffer, Mark. “City looks at new roof for Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 21 May 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  5. Shaffer, Mark. “City looks to save Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 6 June 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  6. Malloy, David E. “Ironton plans to renovate old theater.” Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) 10 June 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  7. Shaffer, Mark. “City eyes engineer for Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 26 June 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  8. Shaffer, Mark. “Council to begin review, cleanup of Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 27 June 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  9. Hart, Kenneth. “Sale to benefit Ro-Na Theater restoration.” Independent (Ashland) 21 July 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  10. Shaffer, Mark. “Community rallies for Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 31 July 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  11. Greene, Rick. “Tri-State Trades pitch in on Ro-Na.” Ironton Tribune 7 Sept. 2008. 10 Dec. 2008.
  12. Sullivan, Jim. “Ro-Na fundraising campaign kicks off.” Ironton Tribune 31 July 2009. 13 Aug. 2009 Article.
  13. Sullivan, Jim. “Ro-Na roof plans start to take shape.” Ironton Tribune 23 June 2009. 13 Aug. 2009 Article.
  14. Sullivan, Jim. “New Ro-Na roof gets go-ahead.” Ironton Tribune 30 Sept 2009. 3 Oct. 2009 Article.
  15. Roberts, Brandon. “Ro-Na marquee will soon be lit.” Ironton Tribune 5 May 2014: n. pag. 13 May 2014. Article.
  16. “Excitement building as reopening of Lyric Theatre draws near.” WKYT
  17. Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center.” VisitLex
  18. “Lexington theater’s revival raises neighborhood hopes.” Herald-Dispatch [Huntington].
  19. “Lyric Theatre plans October reopening celebration.” Herald-Leader [Lexington].
  20. “Lyric groundbreaking set for 10 a.m. Thursday.” Herald-Leader [Lexington].
  21. About Us.” Lexington Lyric.
  22. “Splendid Show at Grand Central.” Cairo Bulletin, 3 Apr. 1914, p. 3.
  23. “Travis Kimmel Resumes Management of Kimmel Theatre, Restores Name.” Cairo Bulletin, 10 Jun. 1914, p. 1.
  24. “Novel Scheme To Get Name For His House.” Cairo Bulletin, 31 Dec. 1911, p. 10.

1 Comment

Add Yours →

Leave your comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Our Abandoned Kentucky hardcover book is now available at a lower price when you order directly from us.