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Feb 05 2013

The Tampa Theatre – Tampa, Florida

Category: Beautiful Doors,Road TripsLori @ 10:20 pm Comments (6)

This is a travel week for me – I’m in Tampa, Florida for the winter meeting of the Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA – check out their new website!).  I have more posts in the works on school security and wired glass, but while I’m on the road, you know that I like to share the cool doors that I see with all of you.  I’ll get back to the code-related posts next week.

Tampa Theatre Sometimes I walk through a door and it’s like I can feel the spirit or soul of the building.  I was just talking about this with some friends who are putting an addition on their home, which was built in 1812.  I imagine their house as a sturdy colonial woman, smoothing her skirts and feeling proud that she’s getting spruced up.  My house on the other hand, is a grumpy old man, rubbing his hands together in glee as he makes yet another crack appear in the horsehair plaster.

This evening I felt the spirit of the Tampa Theatre, which I visited during an event held by an organization that helps teens and their families, called Tampa Bay Young Life.  The audience was full of excited teenagers and parents, anticipating the show by Brandon Heath.  And the soul of the theatre was an elderly but elegant lady, wearing her fancy dress and sparkling jewels (you know the lady I’m talking about – always “dressed to the nines”).

If you don’t believe me, go see for yourself (or at least read about her history or the memories of those who have visited or worked there).  The theatre opened in 1926, after a year of construction at a cost of $1.2 million, and in 1978 was added to the National Register of Historic Places.  I’m sure she was wondering why I was taking pictures of her doors.   🙂

Check out a panoramic image of the theatre here.

Photos were a bit tough with the dim lighting, but this is the bank of entrance doors leading from the lobby to the theatre:

Bank of Doors a

Theatre Entrance


Overhead Stop

Push Bars

Trim a

Here’s one of the emergency exits:

Emergency Exit a

Potbelly Closer

Even the bathroom doors are unusual.  The door swinging from the “Ladies’ Parlor” to the bathroom has glass lites top and bottom so you can see who’s behind the door:

Bathroom Door

There are gates between the lower lobby and the Ladies’ Parlor (men’s too), with fancy hinges:

Ladies Parlor Gate

Gate Hinge a

And this is the door to the children’s toilet stall, which had the smallest toilet I’ve ever seen:

Bathroom Stall a

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels the “spirit” of the Tampa Theatre:

Thank you to John Bell, President and CEO of the Tampa Theatre, for letting me crash the party, and to Gus Graham of Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies for suggesting that I visit the theatre.

I visited another historic building in Tampa so check back tomorrow for more photos!

6 Responses to “The Tampa Theatre – Tampa, Florida”

  1. Amanda Wilson says:


    I grew up in Tampa and have been to the Tampa Theatre many times. It is beautiful, thank you for sharing! Have a great trip and I look forward to more pictures from my home town. Shout out a big hi to Ginny Powell, she’ll be happy to know you’re in her backyard!

  2. Ginny Powell says:

    Hey Lori,
    Great piece on the Tampa Theatre. Love the building and the ghost 🙂 If you get free time give me a call and we can grab a coffee/drink & catch up!

    • Lori says:

      I’m flying home today…I’m going to have to start announcing where I’m going before I get there! It’s hard to keep track of who lives where! 🙁

  3. Jess says:

    Hello Lori,

    nice doors and theatre, i feel same way about places like old schools and any place that the hardware appears old and original with the building,

    as for the door hardware, the bank of 4 doors, the arm thing at the top is the hold open/stop made by Rixson, last time I seen one of these was on the exit door of a classroom when I was in middle school, thought it was some shop made closer’s arm or something, didn’t realize it was a product of Rixson until about 2002, the floor closers under these 4 doors are the #20,

    the exit doors with the traditional/potbelly closers, these are the #26 series Russwin size C or D, appear as if its in brand new condition, wont be suprized if the maintenance person has found any articles or blog comments i wrote on closers to help with keeping them maintained and working well into the future,

    as for the ghost, I am pretty sure that the ghost is welcome to you photographing her doors if they interest you, maybe she shares the same interest in the old building as much as you love taking photos of old doors (and hardware)

    -Jess the door closer doctor

  4. Lenny Scorpiniti says:

    Those old Pot Bellies just keep on working! Very cool pics Lori, Thanks for sharing!

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