The Coleman Theatre is located at the corner of 1st and Main
Sts. in downtown Miami, OK. It remains an important
entertainment and commercial center for the community and is a
popular stop for travelers along Route 66. The theatre
offers free tours Tuesday through Friday, from 10:00am to
4:00pm, and 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturdays. For hours and
programs, call 918-540-2425 or visit the Coleman Theatre's
Starting in 1929,
weary travelers along the recently designated U.S. Highway 66,
who arrived in the small Oklahoma city of Miami, received not
only the usual hot food and lodgings but also a unique feast for
the senses. When it opened on April 18, 1929 along Miami’s Main
Street segment of Route 66, the Coleman Theatre was proudly
billed as the most elaborate entertainment facility between
Dallas and Kansas City. Local mining magnate, George Coleman,
who conceived and funded the theatre, determined to give
Miami--and Mother Road travelers-- the very best entertainment
in the most modern surroundings.
The Coleman’s Spanish
Revival style exterior was a favorite choice of the Jazz Age,
and this stucco palace is considered one of the best surviving
examples in Oklahoma. In its heyday, the Coleman rivaled the
Spanish Revival theaters found in the “big city” (Oklahoma City)
down the road. Above the east, Main Street entrance is a
dominating, curvilinear gable topped with three ornate finials.
Underneath this gable are compound arched windows with
exquisite, hand-carved terra cotta ornamentation.
east façade’s parapet wall with low relief carvings and a
central spire-like bell tower are also trademarks of the style.
Around the corner, hovering above the south, First Street
entrance are twin bell towers with balconettes, wrought iron
railings and red tile hip roofs. In order to diversify income,
the design of the theatre’s ground floor included offices and
shops along both Main and First Streets.
theatre, contemporary visitors experience the treat of seeing a
remarkable period piece. Restored to its 1920s splendor, the
theatre’s gaudy Louis XV decor mightily competes with any
entertainment program then or now. The interior offers intricate
historical detailing, a fully restored original chandelier, and
carved winding staircases flanked by gilded candelabra-toting
Historically, the Coleman’s varied program
offerings typified an American entertainment industry in marked
transition. Alongside the latest movies from Hollywood,
including talkies from the very start, customers could enjoy old
time vaudeville, live music from a ten-person orchestra, and a
vintage pipe organ called the “Mighty Wurlitzer.”
in 1929, the Coleman Theatre still remains in business. In 1989,
the Coleman family donated the building to the City of Miami.
With the support of private and public funding, including a
matching grant from the Federal Economic Development
Administration, hundreds of community volunteers helped restore
the historic Coleman Theatre. Even the old Mighty
Wurlitzer, long thought lost, is back. The theatre was
listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.