The Agora, at 5000 Euclid Avenue since 1986, consists of an 1800 seat theater and a ballroom with a capacity of 500. The entrance to the theater is seen on the right, at the far end of the bar, opposite the entrance to the Ballroom. Built as the Metropolitan Theater, an opera house, in 1913, and used as a vaudeville and burlesque theater beginning in 1932, the complex housed radio stations WHK and WMMS from 1951 until 1978. Several other entertainment venues were housed in the complex until Hank LoConti purchased the property to house the Agora Ballroom that had been destroyed by fire two years earlier. The Agora originally opened in Little Italy, early in 1966, and relocated to East 24th Street, to be near Cleveland State University, the following year, where it remained until the fire in 1984.
The building at 5000 Euclid Avenue housed not only the Agora Theater and Ballroom, but the offices of the LoConti entertainment business, and rooms for visiting entertainers. Rental office space was also available. A Cleveland Trust branch occupied the west end of first floor.
In December, 2011, the LoConti family donated the Agora to MidTown Cleveland, a non-profit community development organization. The space formerly occupied by the bank was renovated by the Geis Companies for MidTown Cleveland’s offices. Geis renovated the rest of the building, with the exception of the theater and ballroom.
Additional space throughout the building has been renovated to meet the needs of tenants.
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Please leave a comment and let me know if you like this kind of post. I am fascinated by the history, but not everyone wants a history lesson. Do you?
8 thoughts on “The Agora”
Lauren…keep the history lessons coming!
Thanks, Sam, and thanks for stopping by!! Always good to see you here!
As a former Clevelander (1940-1979) I really enjoy hearing what’s happened since then as well as the history of the buildings you shoot. For years I worked in the Prospect/46th st. area and often came through the WHK building lobby. Nice little newsstand there.
Thanks for stopping by, Jon. I hope you will do no often! If you will enter your email address at the top (right) of the page, you will receive automatic notification of future posts. In 1963-64 I worked at Warner & Swasey at 55th and Carnegie. On payday many of the folks in the department went to the Cleveland Trust branch in the Agora building to cash our checks. My take-home was just aver $99 every two weeks, so I took the change needed to round it up to $100, and the teller gave me a $100 bill. Then we went to Shay’s, just up the street, for a hot roast beet sandwich. Those are fun memories. Thanks for sharing yours. I hope to see you here often!
Enjoy the info and pictures you provide. It us so nostalgic. Especially liked the info on St. Luke’s hospital since I went to nursing school there. Thank you.
Hi Sheri, and thanks for stopping back! I am so pleased that you enjoy my work. I truly enjoy doing it! See you again soon!
I too love the pictures and the history lessons! I really should share these with my hubby. He enjoys pictures about Cleveland’s past.
So glad you stopped by again, Suzie. I appreciate your kind comments. Please do share them with your hubby. I would be interested in his thoughts as well! Come back soon!