It all started with Gustav Walter. Walter, a German impresario, dreamed of building a cross-country “Orpheum Circuit” of theaters for vaudeville acts. He opened the first Orpheum in San Francisco in the 1880s, but he didn’t make it out of California before running out of money. To settle a reported $50,000 liquor bill, Walter sold his interest in Orpheum to Morris Meyerfeld, who expanded the chain nationwide. Phoenix’s Orpheum Theatre, featuring Spanish Baroque architecture, opened in 1929. It changed hands, and names, several times before falling into disrepair. The city purchased the building in 1984 and began a $14 million restoration, which lasted until 1997.
LOCATION: 203 W. Adams Street, Phoenix
ARCHITECT: Lescher & Mahoney