Schine's Holland Theatre

Also known as: Holland Theatre
125 E. Columbus St., Bellefontaine, Ohio

Dutch styled, atmospheric theater, closed as a movie theater but reopened as a concert and theatrical venue

Photos 

East (Front) Elevation

Photo taken by J.R. Manning in August 2016

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Map 

Street Views 

Description 

"Schine Enterprises, a family company that built and operated about 150 theatres in six states, built the Holland Theatre in downtown Bellefontaine, Ohio, in 1931. The Schine’s Holland Theatre in Bellefontaine is the only Dutch-style atmospheric theater in the United States, and perhaps the only one existing in the world. The Holland Theatre not only represents a nostalgic part of Logan County’s past, but it also offers new opportunities for the county’s future.

"From the outside, the Holland Theatre has not changed dramatically since it was built. The exterior of the Theatre is attractive rose-colored brick. The three story structure has a stepped, Flemish-style gable that gives only a hint of as to what awaited movie-goers inside when the Theatre was in its heyday. Although the lobby and main foyer of the Holland has been cosmetically altered through the decades, originally both spaces introduced the Dutch theme with its hewn timber framed beams, heavy plastered walls, and reproductions of famous Dutch paintings hung between field-paneled walls.

"While 1,400 patrons sat in air-conditioned or heated comfort, they did so as their eyes told them they were outdoors. The interior auditorium was designed as a convincing representation of a 17th-century Dutch cityscape. Blooming tulips waved gently in window boxes as two working windmills quietly stirred the air. The brick and timber-framed facades were careful reproductions, nearly actual sized, of known buildings – one of which was the family home of the Holland’s architect, Peter Hulsken. Windows in these facades were dimly lit from within, giving the impression that building’s interiors were illuminated by candlelight. The ceiling was painted a deep blue, and tiny lights simulated flickering stars. A cloud machine completed the effect. The largest movie screen in Ohio, 40-feet long, filled the stage."

Adapted from the Holland Theater Facebook Page, link below. Also, see the Cinema Treasures website, link below, for more about this fascinating theater.

The city of Bellefontaine received a nod in the W.C. Fields film, The Old Fashioned Way, released in 1934. Although the story revolves around a traveling theatrical troupe, the setting was 1897 and the Holland Theater was not built until 1931.

The Holland Theater has been owned by Logan County Landmark Preservation, Inc. since 1999.

National Register information 

Status
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on May 25, 2001
Reference number
01000561
Architectural style
Other architectural type; Dutch Revival
Area of significance
Architecture
Level of significance
Local
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Building
Historic function
Theater
Current function
Professional
Period of significance
1925-1949
Significant year
1931

Update Log 

  • March 24, 2020: New Street View added by Michael Miller
  • August 31, 2016: Updated by J.R. Manning: Updated status, added description and added photos

Related landmarks 

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - Lugnuts969 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Cinema Treasures - Holland Theater on the Cinema Treasures website
  • Faceboook - The Facebook page of the Holland Theater, including photographs
  • Holland Theater - Official webpage of the subject property
  • Michael Miller - michael_a_miller [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • National Register database - Reference number 01000561