Built by Francis Joseph Springer, who immigrated from Alsace to Columbus before the Civil War and became prosperous in the grocery business, it was a fulfillment of his dream to have a European-style theatre in his adopted home. Soon after it opened, the Springer Opera House gained a reputation as the finest theatre between New York and New Orleans. Among the luminaries to grace its stage were Edwin Booth, Lillie Langtry, John Philip Sousa, Will Rogers, Ethel Barrymore, Ma Rainey and Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Springer fell on hard times during the Great Depression, due largely to the rise of motion pictures, and by 1964 was slated for demolition. A group of concerned citizens led by Emily Woodruff acted quickly and saved it. Today, Georgia’s oldest professional theatre is just one of seven in the nation with National Historic Landmark status. It’s no wonder it was designated the official State Theatre of Georgia.
National Historic Landmark