Built in 1866 as the National Theater
Purchased in 1880 by the piano and music vendor Philip Werlein, Werlein Hall was originally built in 1866 as the National Theater. In its heyday, the National was the main venue for German-language Theater in the city. Located at the corner of Baronne and Perdido in the Central Business District, the building was designed by architect William Thiel. It was a superior theater with comfortable amenities, elegant details, and state-of-the-art fire-safety features for the time. Nonetheless, it was destroyed by a fire on July 2, 1887. Werlein’s music store, dubbed “the largest in the South,” was located at this time at 731 Canal St.