Hagerstown Elks Lodge & Henry's Theatre, South Potomac Street
In September 2009, the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts opened on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown, close to the Square. Given its location in the Hagerstown Historic District, the Board of Education has contributed to the quality of the historic district by preserving the façade of the Elks Lodge that has stood in that location since 1904.
This collection shows the building constructed by the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge No. 378 in 1903. On September 22, 1904 the Elks Hall was dedicated with “appropriate and interesting ceremonies”. In the first telephone directory for Hagerstown published in 1907 there was a listing for the B.P.O. ELKS CLUB, Elks Club on S. Potomac. In 1929 there were 450 members. The Elks moved their lodge to Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown when the building no longer served their needs in 1975.
The Elks Lodge used only the second and third floors of the building. The Sanborn map of September 1904 shows that Munsons carpet store was located on the first floor, and by July 1910, the 5 cent theatre was situated there. The 1918 and 1926 Sanborn maps show the Palace Theatre in that location. The theater was operated by the Elks for a short period of time in the 1920's when the original operators (presumably) were financially unable to meet their rent. In the early 1930's the theater was taken over by Henry Weinberg of Frederick, MD and renamed Henry's Theatre. Mr. Weinberg and his sister Clara Wachter operated the theatre until 1948.
Elks Lodge, Hagerstown,
John Miller began working in movie theatres as an usher at the Tivoli Theatre in Frederick, MD. The Tivoli was also owned by the Weinberg family. When Henry Weinberg decided to expand his interests to include the Palace Theatre in Hagerstown he contacted Miller to become its manager. Miller was managing a large theatre in the Winchester area at the time. He agreed to become manager for the Weinberg family in 1931. In 1948 he purchased the theatre and ran it until December 5, 1979. The last film shown was "Fiddler on the Roof" (Cinema Treasures - Henry's Theatre, updated by John Miller's son, John.)
A dinner theatre took its place, then Fleisher’s Department Store and a boxing club. The property was bought by Vincent Groh who in 2003 donated the former Henry's Theatre to the City of Hagerstown for use as a magnet school for the arts, (Theater is Groh's gift to Hagerstown, Herald-Mail, March 5, 2003.) The school is named for Groh's wife, Barbara Ingram, who died in 1995. She had taught art in Washington County's middle schools, and was a board member of the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.
|Western Maryland Regional Library is grateful to Carol Miller-Schultz and John Miller, the children of John L. Miller, manager of Henry's from 1931 and owner of Henry's from 1948 to 1979; Ellen DiBiase & Lewis Mountcastle; and the Washington County Free Library for providing the photographs of South Potomac Street in Hagerstown.