Ask any native Baltimorean about The Royal Theater and a smile is certain to appear on his or her face as they recollect with pride the grandeur and vibrancy of the historic venue. The Royal Theater, and Pennsylvania Avenue, served as Baltimore's cultural epicenter for more than five decades.
Opening in 1925 at the height of America's jazz age, The Royal Theater was a premier venue in the region, rivaling theaters in Harlem, Philadelphia and Chicago and launching the careers of musical icons including the legendary Duke Ellington and Ethel Waters, renowned comedian Red Foxx and the emblem of Baltimore blues Billie Holiday.
I remember strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue as a teenager and being overwhelmed by its vibrancy and energy. There was the electrifying performances by the likes of Stevie Wonder, Jackie Wilson and James Brown at The Royal Theater, and the young shoe-shiners popping rags in time with the sound of music from by jukeboxes. "The Avenue" had an enthralling and undeniable rhythm. On "The Avenue", you could greet national celebrities face-to-face, as they visited a network of African-American businesses, including clothiers, barbers, and musicians, in preparation for the next show.
Although the times have changed and the community has visibly transformed, the rich history of The Royal Theater and its legacy continue to pulse through Pennsylvania Avenue. The revival of The Royal Theater through the development of The Royal Theater and Community Heritage Center speaks directly to TRTCHC's mission. With the your help, we can increase employment opportunities, stimulate economic growth through tourism, reduce crime by providing culturally-focused outlets, and restore pride in Baltimore's past and its potential.
Your investment in The Royal Theater & Community Heritage Corporation mission, whether financial or personal is critical to this endeavor. We can revitalize "Our Avenue" and rebuild "The Royal". If we beleive we can, we can. Baltimor's third largest industry is tourism at the tune of $3 billion dollars and we are culturally rich. Come help rebuild 'Our Avenue", particpate, educate and celebrate our legacy.
James W. Hamlin
President and CEO