Built in 1926, and located at the corner of Main Highway and Charles Street, The Coconut Grove Playhouse opened 90 years ago on January 1, 1927, with a D.W. Griffith production of Satan of Sorrows that was attended by over 1,500 people. The building was originally named the Coconut Grove Theatre.
The Coconut Grove Theatre was built by Miami locals Irving J. Thomas and Fin L. Pierce as movie theater for the Paramount Enterprises Chain and the largest in Miami. The theater was designed by architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliot to resemble a Spanish Rococo Palace in the style of Mediterranean Revival. The building originally had seven stores on the ground level, ten offices on the second floor and the third floor were apartments. It had the latest Wurlitzer pipe organ and had a very modern amenity at the time - air conditioning.
Before the theater opened, Irving J. Thomas and Fin L. Pierce sold the building to Paramount Enterprises and the theater thrived until the Great Depression of the 1930s hit and attendance dropped significantly. The Coconut Grove Theatre eventually closed in the mid-1930s until it was used to train Air Force Navigators during World War II. Read More