Cuban Theater Digital Archive

Olympia Theater (Gusman Cultural Center for the Performing Arts)

Also known as: Olympia Theater; Gusman Center; Gusman Philharmonic Hall


This downtown landmark first opened in February 1926 as Olympia Theater, a silent movie palace, and amazed the public with its stunning Moorish architecture, perfect acoustics and simulated night sky - complete with rolling clouds and twinkling stars. The theater achieved notoriety as the first air-conditioned building in the South. The Olympia Theater owes its distinctive character to architect John Eberson, the master of “atmospheric” theater design and it is one of the few Eberson buildings still standing. Philanthropist Maurice Gusman saved the theater from demolition and renovated it renaming it Gusman Philharmonic Hall. He donated it to the City of Miami in 1975. After extensive renovation, the Olympia Theater at Gusman Center for the Performing Arts is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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