Walking home from an appointment yesterday, the side doors of The Walnut Street Theater were open, and I snapped this photo. The Walnut Street Theater is one of Philadelphia’s long standing gems. It was founded in 1809, originally going by the name of The New Circus, then switching to it’s current moniker in 1820. It was the first theater to install gas footlights, and the first to feature air conditioning. Thomas Jefferson attended a production of The Rivals in 1812, and one hundred and sixty four years later, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford had a presidential debate there.
Among the impressive list of famous performers who have performed at the Walnut include Ethel Barrymore, Henry Fonda, Helen Hayes, Katherine Hepburn, Jack Lemmon, Robert Redford, Edward G. Robinson, George C. Scott, Samuel L. Jackson, and Groucho Marx. In 1923, Groucho Marx stopped his performance to inform the audience that President Warren Harding had died. The Walnut Street Theater was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964.