Lotus Ware Laconian vase produced by the Knowles, Taylor and Knowles Co., ca. 1890 From the collections of the Museum of Ceramics, East Liverpool, Ohio
Playing in the Arts
This legacy project documents five arts
organizations that reflect the Mahoning Valley's rich
tradition of support to the arts through its industry,
playhouses, museums, and music halls.
The Museum of Ceramics in East Liverpool occupies the
former city post office, built in 1909, and is listed on the
National Register of Historic Places. Open as the museum since
1980, the renovated building interior's solid-oak trim, ornately
decorated domed ceilings, and marble and terrazzo floors provide a
stunning atmosphere to display an extensive array of wares produced
by East Liverpool potteries, especially yellow ware and Rockingham
pottery. More than 90 percent of East Liverpool's population were
employed in the manufacture of ceramics in 1900. Museum dioramas
show how ceramics were created; other exhibits depict the growth
and development of the community and its people. Among the museum's
most prized pieces are its Lotus Ware bone china, noted for its
pure white lustrous finish, graceful shapes, and exquisite
Heralded as the "finest theater every built," the
Warner Brothers opened the Warner Theater in Youngstown in 1931,
with the movie, "The Millionaire." The theater was built by Harry,
Jack, and Albert as a memorial to their brother, Sam, who died in
1928. Sam had seen the future of "talking" pictures, and had
encouraged his family to pursue this new venture. The brothers had
grown up in Youngstown with their émigré parents, who had fled
Russian persecution of Jews in Poland. The building, designed by
the renown theater architects Rapp and Rapp, featured Carpathian
elm, Italian olive wood, Australian and African cherry wood,
Madagascar ebony, burled English walnut, bronzes, Egyptian brass
chandeliers, tapestries, oil paintings, and art objects. In 1968,
the theater closed and was threatened with demolition when local
residents, Mr. And Mrs. Edward W. Powers, provided $250,000 to
purchase the building for the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. After
a restoration, in 1969 the building reopened as the Symphony
Center/Edward W. Powers Auditorium with a gala performance of "Die
Successful Youngstown industrialist, Joseph G. Butler
Jr., hired the New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead, and
White in 1917 to design a building to hold his collection of
American art, assembled between 1917 and 1919, including the
Winslow Homer work, Snap the Whip. The Butler Institute of American
Art was the first building in the United States designed
specifically to house American art. Considered an architectural
landmark, the classically designed institute features Georgian and
Carrara marble. During the 20th century, several wings have been
added to the institute, which now houses more than 10,000 permanent
works of art.
The Henry H. Stambaugh Auditorium was built for the
residents of Youngstown in 1926 following the 1919 death of
Stambaugh, who had been a business leader and philanthropist,
dedicated to improving the lives of community members. His will and
testament bequeathed funds to build an auditorium which Youngstown
residents could use for entertainment, enjoyment and education.
Designed by Helme & Corbett of New York, the Italian
Renaissance building cost$1.5 million. Its acoustically superb
auditorium, which seats 2,600 people, has been the setting for many
concerts by renown musicians and singers, often invited by the
Monday Morning Club. The building's 9,700 square foot ballroom was
originally designed as an exhibition hall, but was quickly
converted with the addition of a wooden floor. Known as "the
chatterbox," the ballroom was popular for weekly dances during the
Big Band era of the 1920s and 1930s.
The Youngstown Playhouse is one of the country's
oldest, largest and most respected community theaters. It was
founded by a "society" group, the Youngstown Players, in the 1920s
. The first playhouse, which seated 165 people, was made by
converting an 1885 barn, originally built for race horses. When
playhouse membership reached 1,400 by 1940, the players raised
$30,000 to build a new theater. However, they used the money to
purchase a small movie house that had become available, and
converted it for live theater. The 250-seat Market Street Playhouse
opened with a rousing production of "Camille of Roaring Camp"
around 1942. During the war years, one of the players, Helen
Moyers, was instrumental in directing the players toward becoming
an outstanding community theater. Broadway director, Arthur Sitcom,
became artistic director, who helped raise the artistic standards.
Many of the players trained by him went on to professional theater.
In 1959, the players moved into a new two-theater building, The
Youngstown Playhouse, on a three-and-one-half acre site renamed
Playhouse Lane. The playhouse is the only community theater in Ohio
to receive major institution support from the Ohio Arts Council.
Its 2000-2001 season runs from September to June.
Documentation includes text descriptions of each
legacy, and the Youngstown Players 50th anniversary catalog.
Originally submitted by: James A. Traficant, Jr., Representative (17th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.