The Crump Theatre was originally an opera house, built in 1889 as an addition to an earlier commercial building. Successive renovations in 1922, 1934, and 1942 greatly increased its size and changed the style of the theatre, so that today the 1942 façade and lobbies, and 1934 auditorium largely define its character. By 1993, roof failure and the extensive water damage that followed caused the theatre to close.
At that time, the building was acquired by Columbus Capital Foundation, with the intention of holding, stabilizing, and managing the theatre while exploring alternatives for its future use. From an initial building assessment in 1993 while a partner of Joyner and Marshall, Architects, Louis Joyner has been involved in planning, repairs and restoration work on the structure.
The 1993 study addressed the building's condition, history and made recommendations for various renovation alternates. Following this study, several additional projects have been completed addressing different aspects of the building and its future. Among these projects were:
- A 1996 feasibility study that included recommendations for conservation and preservation and the ongoing renovation of the building.
- Ongoing architectural services as repair work has been necessary, including emergency structural repairs after discovering the failure of two trusses.
- A successful Grant proposal for reroof of the building, followed by architectural services on the replacement of the roof.
- A study that considered the alternative of restoring the façade and lobbies, demolishing the auditorium and replacing it with a "black box" theatre.
- Ongoing consulting as various alternatives for reuse, different performance types, and levels of renovation have been considered by the owner and community. The consulting has consisted of analysis of the limits and potential imposed by the existing structure on the various performance types, as well as development of renovation scopes and estimates of probable cost.
- Façade restoration done to standards required by federal grants.