Warner Theater/ Powers Auditorium
Warner Theater, now known as the Powers Auditorium, opened on May 14th, 1931. The theater derives its name from the Warner family who created the movie production company "Warner Brothers." The two brothers named the theater to honor their late brother Samuel and their parents. The Warner Theater operated until February 28th, 1968, when it played its last movie, "Bonnie and Clyde." The building was slated to be demolished, but local couple Edward and Alice Powers donated $250,000 and others in the community rallied to save the building and make it the permanent home of the Youngstown Symphony. The building was renovated for the symphony at a price of $750,000. The theater was renamed to honor the Powers family for their support and the symphony held their first performance in their new home on September 20th, 1969. The building continues to serve the community by holding live performances of the city's symphony and other events.
Backstory and Context
The Warner Theater was opened on May 14, 1931, by the Warner family. The Warner family is famous for the motion picture organization, Warner Brothers. The Warner family settled in Youngstown in 1895, initially owning a myriad of businesses, such as selling items like bicycles, soap, and ice cream, the family also owned a butcher shop. In the early 1900s, the family purchased a projector and began traveling across Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other neighboring states. In 1918 the family moved to California and established a production company. The family continued to either purchase or build movie theaters, among them was the Warner Theater in Youngstown in 1931.
The Warner Theater was constructed in memory of the Warner brothers parents as well as their brother Samuel Warner who had passed away in 1927. `The theater was designed by the Chicago architecture group C. W. and George L. Rapp. The Heller Brother’s construction company constructed the theater for a price of $1,500,000.
On February 28, 1968, the theater played its last movie, Bonnie and Clyde, to a packed house. The theater had to close due to dwindling attendance. The theater was slated to be demolished, an auction was held on September 21, 1968, and the building was saved by Youngstown couple Edward and Alice Powers, who donated $250,000 to make the building the permanent home of the Youngstown Symphony. The theater was renamed the Powers Auditorium, the building was renovated for the symphony at a price of $750,000. Powers Auditorium held its first show on September 20, 1969; the Powers Auditorium now stands as the centerpiece of the Deyor Performing Arts Center.
Johannesen, Eric. Warner Theater . National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form. Published March 31st 1980. National Register of Historic Places.
Guerrieri, Vince. The Lost Movie Palaces of Youngstown, https://beltmag.com/. June 22nd 2014. Accessed October 26th 2019. https://beltmag.com/lost-movie-palaces-youngstown/.
Heineman, Ted. Youngstown’s Warner Theatre, http://riversidecemeteryjournal.com/. Accessed October 26th 2019. http://riversidecemeteryjournal.com/Places/Places/page32.html.
Warner Brothers , https://ohiohistorycentral.org/. Accessed October 26th 2019. https://ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Warner_Brothers.