Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The LaSalle Theater

On Saturday, October 9, 2010 the Cleveland Restoration Society offered a SNOOP tour of the LaSalle theater on East 185th Street at Kildeer Avenue in the Collinwood neighborhood of Cleveland. The theater was built in 1927 by the International Savings and Loan Association as a mixed-use project that included their bank branch, retail store locations, apartments, and the theater. The architect was Nicola Petti and the style was considered Neo-Classical. The original marquee seen here is still intact.

Much of the interior detailing has remained intact although the seating and organ have been removed.

This is a close up of the medallion that adorns the top of the center of the stage.

This photo below of a Peerless lamp was shot in complete darkness inside one of the upstairs projection rooms.

This is the staircase leading up to the projection rooms.

Below is a shot of some of the equipment used behind the curtain area on stage.

This is another snapshot of some of the intricate plaster ceiling decor.

Below is one of the two open areas that flank each side of the main stage. It was thought by one of the attendees who watched shows at the LaSalle when she was young, that these areas were for "premium" seating.

If you have memories of the LaSalle or want to read more from others who visited the LaSalle when it was previously open, visit this page at, which is a great website to read more about historic movie theaters.

Hope abounds for the future of the LaSalle. Northeast Shores (the community development corporation for this area) now owns the structure. They've obtained funding for repairs to the limestone and for stabilizing the building. They are in the second phase of having it added to the National Register of Historic Places. An associate from Northeast Shores stated that there is the possibility for a brew pub inside the structure. Since this building was built when people either walked or took the streetcar to this site, parking could potentially be an issue because there appears to mainly be on-street parking available. Once that issued is addressed, I am sure the LaSalle will make a great venue, and also has the benefit of having an Arabica directly across the street, and great restaurants like Scotti's Italian, Chili Peppers, and Bistro 185 nearby.

In any case, many local residents await the next act for the LaSalle.

Keri Zipay moved to Cleveland from Pennsylvania in 1999 and has since discovered a love for local historic architecture. She has been volunteering with the Cleveland Restoration Society since 2004, and historic structures are her favorite photographic subject, particularly the remaining Millionaire's Row mansions. Contact Keri by email


  1. Looks like it would make a great dinner theater or maybe a vaudeville/burlesque house. The stagehouse makes this venue unique and should be taken advantage of. I don't think movies alone would cut it, you have to have some kind of dining out "experience" in order to get people to come.

  2. I am surprised they don't have Mr. Marcus hanging on display in the theater. He was a fixture when I was a child going to the matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Great times for 15 cents for under 12, 20 cents for 13 to 16, and 35 cents for adults.
    Alan Kirby

  3. brings back a lot of pleasant you have any info/pics of the COMMODORE THEATER?

  4. Love this post. I drove by the theater last weekend and it's great to get a peak inside.

  5. I am from Euclid and have wanted to buy this place for just how you described for years, it has been my dream. This article is making it a little more likely

  6. go for it BWood, I also had a similar dream, but mine involved keeping a theatre but including music acts as well. hoping the best for the lasalle

  7. Joan Stevens KirnerMarch 9, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    We have a theater in Winsted where we see first run movies. I went to The LaSalle on Sundays and Saturdays. I remember when I came home on Sunday I found that Pearl Harbor was bombed.

  8. How much? I want to buy it. I have history there.

  9. The reason people knock old buildings down is because they are inefficient.

    This structure is energy inefficient. The heating and cooling bills would be astronomical. The marquee is ancient technology (do they make light bulbs for it anymore, they stopped making certain bulbs in 2014). With historical designation the modifications to make it energy efficient will be very costly (practically cheaper to leave it energy inefficient, which will then make everyone cry how not green friendly you are).

    Most importantly it is inefficient in how people live their lives. We use cars. We expect curbside parking like all the other box stores provide. People won't use their energy to find parking and walking to whatever venue is there.

    That's just the truth. Only way to make 185th St work is to prune out some buildings and make way for parking. They did that by Save-a-lot and Keybank. They demolished the old travel agency over in that area. To make way for cars.

    And don't tell me the bus will save 185th St. It's only serviced by the 37 and 39 which shuttles people downtown and west. You want people from all over coming down to 185th... Euclid and east, Cleveland Hts and south... etc.

    Last but not least is CRIME. I was robbed at gun point working in a store on 185th in 1990. At the time all the gas stations and convince stores were being hit regularly. The neighborhood has not improved over the years so it's safe to assume the crime problem has only gotten worse. (Just look up the big drug bust last year LAKESHORE BOYZ, they indited 30 people or so)

  10. Buying this place is like buying a boat.

    You'll only have two happy days.

    The day you buy it and the day you sell it.

  11. The stage is very shallow and only suitable for motion pictures, Sorry no burlesque here unless the stage is modified. I wish this theater would once again show old 32mm motion pictures off the actual films and not the web based films. That would be a real piece of history. and an experience for those who never been to a real "film theater." I am not even sure any are still available and what they that are available would be. This theater would need a lot of restoration to make it legal. Its bathrooms are down stairs to the basement and would not meet ADA requirements. I know a group is working on it to restore it but what they will be able to do with it once restored is questionable.
    William Shea c/o

  12. I think they should make a dinner theatre out of this. it would be a shame to just demolish it. I think they should show old movies from the 30's and 40's and serve dinner and/or lunch.