“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shawnee in Perry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Tecumseh Theater

Tecumseh Theater Tablet image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 27, 2019
1. Tecumseh Theater Tablet
Inscription.  This building, first known as the Red Men’s Hall, was completed in 1908. In 1976 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Saved from the wrecking ball, and renamed the Tecumseh Theater.

An early example of skyscraper construction with its steel I beams, the second story is a flat-floor, clear-span space with stage and balcony. The Improved Order of Red Men and their female counterparts, the Daughters of Pocahontas, shared the impressive lodge rooms on the third floor. The Red Men and Pocahontas were among more than two dozen fraternal organizations that made their home along Main Street during the boom era.

The first floor storefronts were used as a confectionery, bowling alley, barber shop and movie theater. Initially a silent theater, in 1930 it was converted to sound and renamed the “New” Linda Theater. First run talking films were brought to Shawnee by local businessman and building owner Louis Hatem. The final movies were shown in 1959.

The second floor was originally named “The Indian Theater.” It hosted traveling theatrical groups including vaudeville shows, as
Tecumseh Theater Historical Tablets image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 27, 2019
2. Tecumseh Theater Historical Tablets
This tablet is second from left.
Click or scan to see
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well as local orchestra concerts, high school plays and graduations, boxing matches and basketball games. By the 1940’s the theater space became a popular venue for dancing to the “Big Bands” of that era.

Severely damaged by water from a failed roof, the building was saved from the wrecking ball in 1976 by a group of local citizens who purchased it and began restoration.

The building was renamed Tecumseh Theater as a way to honor and remember the extraordinary Shawnee Tribe leader. Tecumseh may well have traveled through and hunted in the forest here in the late 1700’s along the Belpre Trail, a major Indian trail that passed through the narrow valley that is now Shawnee. It is believed that the Shawnee favored hunting here because of the natural saltlicks located in the area. Large game valued by the native people for their meat and fur were attracted by the salt.
Erected 2011. (Marker Number 2.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureCharity & Public WorkEntertainmentFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsNative Americans. A significant historical year for this entry is 1908.
Location. 39° 36.239′ N, 82° 12.734′ W. Marker is in Shawnee, Ohio, in Perry County. Marker is on Main Street
Tecumseh Theater, formerly Red Men’s Hall image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, June 27, 2019
3. Tecumseh Theater, formerly Red Men’s Hall
Historical tablets are on the right wall of the building facing the pocket park.
west of 2nd Street, on the right when traveling west. Tablet faces the pocket park to the right of the building. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 116 Main St, Shawnee OH 43782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Black Diamonds and Bricks (here, next to this marker); A Boom Town (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Shawnee and the Little Cities of Back Diamond Region (here, next to this marker); A Little City in the Forest (a few steps from this marker); Knights of Labor Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); World’s Greatest Mine Fire (approx. 1.3 miles away); New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation (approx. 1.3 miles away); Robinson’s Cave (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shawnee.
Also see . . .  The Tecumseh Theater Story. 2010 article in the Little Cities Archive. Excerpt:
After the movie theater closed in the late 1950’s the Hatem family vacated the building, with Mr. Hatem using the Main Theater for storage. A fire in the building adjacent to the Red Men’s Hall in the 1960’s severely damaged the theater roof. Unrepaired, water began to pour through the structure causing excessive damage to the building’s floors and plaster walls.

In 1976 Mr. Hatem agreed to sell the building for $500 to a demolition company who wanted to salvage the valuable steel I-Beams in the structure. Local citizen Skip Ricketts who was operating a diner down
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the street from the theater overheard their plans. Alarmed at the loss of this town landmark, he approached Mr. Hatem and offered him $500 for the building.

Mr. Hatem agreed to sell it to him. Ricketts had to borrow $500 from his father to make the purchase. He then joined with three other of the town’s younger citizens to form a non-profit group to own and save the building. The group renamed the building The Tecumseh Theater in honor of the great Shawnee Indian chief Tecumseh.
(Submitted on September 8, 2019.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 18, 2021. It was originally submitted on September 8, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 150 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on September 8, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Jul. 29, 2021