Sunday, May 31, 2009
THE MAYFAIR THEATER I, BALT.
(click image to enlarge)
Pt. 1 of 3
This site has been burning in Mark & I's exploring hearts for quite some time now, so it was good to finally find ourselves within its midst. Exploring the Mayfair is unlike exploring anywhere else and its unique situation unleashes a new and oddly positive experience. You see, typically we are amongst old hospitals or psychiatric hospitals and the energy is extremely negative, whereas the Mayfair offers up the remnants of of live theater, the backstage rooms where people were bubbling-over with excitement, etc. Sure, it's a great shame that it's come to this state of condition but, for what it's worth – we were glad to be there once.
Notes: The photos above display the now open-air theater's seating and stage while the archival images below show Kernan's Row on Howard Street around the turn of the 20th century and an ad from 1940 for a showing of The Road To Singapore, starring William "At The Glamorous Height Of His Most Dramatic Power" Powell at the Auditorium.
THE HISTORY (in brief): Originally a natatorium, a gym and indoor pool (circa 1870), the site was built up to become Kernan's Howard Street Auditorium at 508 N. Howard St. in Baltimore. James Kernan bought the property around 1890 and remodeled over the next decade as it became a live theater. For nearly 40 years it was known as the Auditorium, which was primarily a live theatre with some stints into showing movies. In 1941, the name changed to the Mayfair and the property was given a thorough remodeling. Finally, the theater closed in 1980 and thanks to more of the classic "demolition by neglect" techniques of city and state governments, the building has been ignored entirely over the past 20 years and sits in utter distress, especially after the roof collapsed in on the building in early 2000. (ID# 05.10.2009 Mayfair Theater)