Sunday, January 16, 2011

Huntington's Keith Albee Theater

Construction on 4th Avenue's Keith Albee Theater began in 1926 when A.B. Hyman consulted architect Thomas Lamb for plans to build a magnificent vaudeville theater for the people of Huntington. With the introduction of the the "talkie" "The Jazz Singer" in 1927, plans had to be tweaked, and the original budget of $250,000 was exhausted quickly.

The rococo style theater named for the Keith Albee vaudeville chain opened May 7, 1928 with vocalist Rae Samuels, several vaudeville acts, and a screening of "Good Morning Judge" with Reginald Denny.  Opening day admission was 50 cents a person, and all 3000 original seats were filled.

Still in private operation despite financial difficulties, the 1937 flood, and various changes in the entertainment industry, the Keith Albee has also picked up the reputation of being one of the most haunted locations in the tri-state area.  There have been a few verifable deaths in the building.  Down in the basement, two electricians were electrocuted, and a maintenance man died in the modern projection room.  There are also rumors that a homeless man taking shelter in the basement froze to death one winter under the stage area.

In fact, the areas of the deaths ARE reported to be some of the "hot spots" in the theater.  Movement and shadows are often seen in the projection room where the maintenance man has died, and the basement, and its legends of the tunnel system have long been the source of ghostlore.

However, the most famous ghost in the theater is no doubt the Lady in Red.  The Lady in Red is seen in the mezzanine level ladies' room.  A mirrored parlour leading into the restroom is said to be her favorite locale, but she has also been seen wandering around the rest of the mezzanine.  She is described as wearing a 1940s style red fancy dress and high heeled shoes.  Another Keith Albee ghost tends to stay in the area of the basement level ladies' room.  Visitors to this restroom often report the feelings of someone watching them, and following them down the stairs into the restroom.  Unlike the Lady in Red, this resident ethereal is heard and felt, rather than seen.

HPIR investigated this location in the fall of 2007.  Please click the link to see our investigation results!

UPDATE July 1, 2011:  The Keith-Albee sign was damaged in an early June storm.  Please click on the link below for the story, and how you can assist with restoration efforts.

Keith Albee Sign Damaged

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