The Murphy Theater has graced downtown Wilmington, Ohio since July 1918, just a few months before World War I ended. It was opened by a fellow named Charles Murphy who envisioned a grand theater for his hometown.
In 1929, Chakares Theaters of Springfield came knocking and leased the theater for many years. They installed modern equipment to accommodate modern movies – at that time called “talkies” and they remodeled. It did well during the Chakares years but began to struggle when the multiplexes became popular
By the eighties, Mr Murphy’s heirs wanted to sell the theater and a non-profit organization was born to save the theater and give it new life.
Today the theater hosts local productions, touring performers, meeting and weddings. According to their website, it sounds like a work in progress as they are wrapping up a new pub and concessions area.
The front of the theater with its box office, tile work and marquee is magnificent. It’s a real show stopper and, once this darn pandemic is over, I look forward to seeing a show there. This has been a tough year for many and I’m trying to use my resources smartly to support those small businesses and organizations that badly need us.
It was locked up right the day I was there but someday I will go back and stay at the historic General Denver Hotel down the street and see a show! Click here to read another story about Downtown Wilmington.