Organized Session, Workshop or Roundtable Title

FIELD TRIP: Tour of the Keith Albee Theatre

Participation Type

Organized Session

Organized Session, Workshop or Roundtable Abstract

The Keith Albee Theater was the brainchild child of entertainment entrepreneurs Abe and Sol Hyman of the Greater Huntington Theatre Corporation. Designed by renowned theatre architect, Thomas Lamb, with construction begun in 1926 and a grand opening on May 7, 1928, the theater was the largest palace of amusement in West Virginia. The owners asked the Vaudeville syndicate of B. F. Keith and Edward Albee if the new theater could bear the designation of the famed Keith Albee name. Permission was granted and the Keith Albee Theatre became a fixture in downtown Huntington. The theater was a grand movie palace in every detail. Spanish Renaissance architecture with an atmospheric ceiling were the highlights. Lamb only designed approximately 5 such theaters out of the 162 he designed. Only 26 of the Lamb theaters remain with the Keith Albee being the last of the atmospheric houses.

The theater remained in the hands of the Hyman family until January, 2006, when the building was donated to the Marshall University Foundation, Inc. In the summer of 2006 the MU Foundation donated the building and the land to the tax-exempt Keith Albee Performing Arts Center, Inc. Since that time it has operated to bring Arts entertainment to the tri-state region. The theater is home to The Huntington Symphony Orchestra and the Marshall Artists Series.

The Hyman family maintained the building faithfully throughout those years and left a mostly intact structure. The Keith Albee Theatre is truly one of the jewels in the Jewel City’s crown.

The tour will begin in the grand lobby with an explanation of what to look for and information about Thomas Lamb, the architect. We'll visit the auditorium via the balcony and then on the main floor, including an explanation of the concept of the auditorium and why it may have been designed this way. In addition, the dressing rooms and other points of interest in the basement, including the animal room, electric relay room, the gas and water service rooms, the musicians’ room, and restrooms will be highlighted. As a bonus, parts of the basement infrastructure including the fan room, storage rooms, and furnace room will conclude the tour.


Bob Edmunds, Keith Albee Theatre

At-A-Glance Bio- Organizer

Dr. Robert F. Edmunds joined the Marshall faculty in August, 1970 and retired from full-time teaching in May 2008. Edmunds is a native West Virginian who has been involved in higher education for 40 years. His teaching interests have included courses in Communication Education, public speaking, persuasive communication, film history, and listening. Outside the University Edmunds was active with the Higher Education Policy Committee.He serves on Board of the Madie Carroll House Preservation Society as its treasurer; he is a member of the Executive Board of the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center; he is Dean of the Huntington Chapter of the American Guild of Organists; and, he is President of the Huntington Theater Organ Project, Inc., which owns and maintains a theater organ at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center. Bob was appointed to the City of Huntington Historic Preservation Commission in 2007.

About the Participant(s)

Southern Anthropological SocietyFollow

Presentation #1 Title

Tour of the Keith Albee Theatre

Presentation #1 Abstract

Meet in the lobby of our conference hotel, the Holiday Inn. Our tour guide, Bob Edmunds, will depart at 7:30 for a short (5 minute) walk to the Keith Albee Theatre

At-A-Glance Bios- Participant #1



Historic Preservation

Start Date

4-7-2016 7:30 PM

End Date

4-7-2016 8:30 PM

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Apr 7th, 7:30 PM Apr 7th, 8:30 PM

Tour of the Keith Albee Theatre

Meet @ Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Huntington - Lobby

Meet in the lobby of our conference hotel, the Holiday Inn. Our tour guide, Bob Edmunds, will depart at 7:30 for a short (5 minute) walk to the Keith Albee Theatre