Thomas W. Lamb

posted by TomLamb on February 10, 2006 at 4:16 am

I am the great-grandson of Thomas W. Lamb. I happened upon this wonderful website today, and am amazed at the information available here. Many thanks to the site founders for putting (and keeping) this site together.

For now, I will be gathering information on TW’s prodigious work portfolio, as well as any stories that may have been handed down by those who knew him. From what my father remembers, he was quite a character. If you have anything to contribute on the topic, or have worked on (or in) one of his theaters, I would be very grateful to hear from you.

Best, Tom

Comments (50)

KenLayton
KenLayton on February 10, 2006 at 5:47 am

Wow, he was one of the greatest theater designers of all time!

JimRankin
JimRankin on February 10, 2006 at 6:13 am

And as one of the “greatest theatre designers of all time,” his works have been fittingly represented in the publications of The Theatre Historical Society of America ( www.historictheatres.org ); are you aware of them? If not, you would certainly do well to contact their Ex. Director via the E-mail address given on the bottom of their first page. Use T.L.’s name as a search term here, and you should come up with dozens of referrences. Welcome to the forum.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 10, 2006 at 7:17 am

Jim Rankin is right, THS is a fantastic resource!

Are you really named Tom Lamb?

Please write a wonderful book about your grandfather and the theaters he designed!

In Philadelphia, there are a variety of places to go for information. One website and library is http://www.philadelphiabuildings.org/pab/index.cfm

The late Irvin R. Glazer lists in his hardback Philadelphia Theatres A-Z that your great grandfather designed or co-designed the now demolished Fox in downtown Philadelphia and the Trans-Lux newsreel (later altered as Eric’s Place) and a few theaters in the neighborhood. One was the State, a fabulous but gone Art Deco movie palace. The Fox was a very successful and important movie palace, and any book about Lamb’s theaters should mention it.

Downtown Philadelphia’s surviving movie palace, the Boyd (www.FriendsOfTheBoyd.org), was not designed by Lamb, but is owned and operated by the same company (now Live Nation) that in the last few years restored and reopened the Hippodrome in Baltimore and what is now known as the Opera House in Baltimore, both by Lamb. They were also operating the Pantages in Toronto. I visited in 2002 the Uptown in Toronoto, before its demolition, which was a tragedy for three people as well as the movie palace.

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 10, 2006 at 7:18 am

I wrote too fast. The Boyd will be operated after renovations, by Live Nation. It is currently closed.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on February 10, 2006 at 8:00 am

Most important, the architecture library at Columbia University is the custodian of most of your great-grandfather’s papers after his firm was dissolved. I had been doing some research on his last project and can’t immediately lay my hands on the notes which disclosed the name of the people who control the use of these documents, but a few calls to Columbia, and you should be able to dig right into the materials. (The project he was working on when he died in February, 1942, was a Queens Boulevard theater as a joint venture by RKO and Skouras, later to be known as the Midway, and possibly completed by West Coast architect Charles Lee.

ERD
ERD on February 10, 2006 at 4:16 pm

It is wonderful to have Mr. Lamb communicate with Cinema Treasures.
I, like most of the members, respect and appreciate the great contribution of his grandfather to theatre design.

ERD
ERD on February 10, 2006 at 5:20 pm

Correction to my post above: “…great contribution of his great-grandfather…” Sorry, Mr. Lamb.

Paul Noble
Paul Noble on February 10, 2006 at 5:36 pm

Tom, you may also want to check out this website, View link It’s wonderful to know that Lamb’s descendant has found Cinema Treasures!

jon6444
jon6444 on February 11, 2006 at 3:20 am

Glad to have you aboard Mr. Lamb, I can’t say much more than already has been said above…..Mr. first Movie Palace experience was with the Ohio Theatre in Cloumbus that your great grandfather designed…that was his masterpiece…….well they are all masterpieces…anyway it is a real testement to your great grandfathers work that I had the same reaction as the people who first entered this great theatre 75 years ago… absolute disbelief….I was hooked from then on and now I am proud to be a volunteer usher at the Ohio and Palace (another T.L. theatre)….ya gotta write a book or something, we here at CT are always thirsty for knowledge.

carolgrau
carolgrau on February 11, 2006 at 8:34 am

I hope some of his talent has rubbed off on you. It is a great honor just to say hi to one of the relatives of this great man. I have been a projectionist for 50 years, and have worked in allot of his theatres all over the Country. All have been just fabulous. The shame of it all is many are gone for parking lots.
Thanks Again
Norelco

Patsy
Patsy on February 11, 2006 at 1:53 pm

Mr. Tom Lamb: Yes, do write a book about your great-grandfather, Thomas Lamb. If you haven’t ever see the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse which was a Lamb Theatre, please make a trip there and by all means tell them who you are! And I agree with Norcelco that its a shame that many Lamb theatre are now gone for parking lots! It makes no sense! Glad you found CT and that you will contribute often! If you go to the listing of architects on the CT site and type in the Lamb name, it will give you a list of Lamb theatres. And by all means try to gather all of the information your father would have about Thomas Lamb, your great-grandfather! It’s an honor to have you as a CT member. Welcome!

Patsy
Patsy on February 12, 2006 at 12:13 pm

There are 150 Lamb theatres listed on CT so lots to read and research. Unfortunately, many of them have been demolished yet many are listed as simply closed and therefore should be saved and restored, if at all possible!

EcRocker
EcRocker on February 12, 2006 at 4:35 pm

Mr Lamb I had the pleasure of working at the New York Academy of Music on 14th street in NYC for about 8 years of my life. It was not just a building but a piece of art. Being able to have the time to explore the basment as well as the catwalks above the audience. It was a grand old place that had lots of history. Did you know that when the Beatles came to Amrerica in 1964 and did the Ed Sullivan show The Rolling Stones played at the Academy. In the years i was there some people sed to say it was a cold building. I never found it that way at all. When I was working there i was told that the Academy and then later renamed the Palladium had landmark status. That came in to play when the new owners attempted to install a new air conditioning system. They knocked out a wall witout contacting the NYC landmark commission and by the time the dust settled they had already gone to far with the instalation to revove it and replace the wall so it stayed. Some of the biggest names in the music industry played there in the sixties till the early 80’s when it changed hands and became a disco. To me that was the death of a great place. Seems as though landmark status or not NYU took it over and demolished it to make new dorms. They did the same thing to the old Luchows that was there for like 100 years. I have seen some of the other theatres in NYC that your great grand father built and designed. I wish I could have met him. His work reflects his greatness.

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 3:30 am

This is great to read the many Lamb related theatre posts and will be of such help to Mr. Lamb’s namesake, Tom Lamb. And yes, Mr. Lamb’s work does reflect his greatness!

JohnFaust
JohnFaust on February 13, 2006 at 12:39 pm

Don’t forget to visit the Stanley Theatre in Utica NY
(the sister to the Ohio in Columbis) and Proctor’s in Schenectady. Don’t forget the Mark Hellinger (now Times Square Church) in NYC!

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 12:49 pm

I recently received information about a former Lamb theatre called the Capitol which was demolished nearly 3 years ago. “There wasn’t so much as a whimper, as far as I know,about it being torn down. The city let it fall into disrepair (no heat, leaking roof). Prior to that it had been whittled away. First the grand entrance and lobby had been demolished (looked like the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles) leaving only the secondary entrance on the side street as the remaining entrance to the theatre. Then they chopped the theatre up into two screens, covering up all of Lamb’s work.” This is a theatre crime and was repeated more times than we CT members would like to admit.

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 12:52 pm

cnyarts: How does one find the Mark Hellinger (Times Square Church) as I couldn’t find it listed on CT?

HowardBHaas
HowardBHaas on February 13, 2006 at 1:03 pm

Hollywood Theatre. No need to reply.

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:07 pm

In what way was Thomas Lamb “quite a character”. I know that architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright was very unique and could be described as “quite a character” also.

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:10 pm

And I wonder if Lamb ever met FLW? If so, that would have been some meeting of the minds!

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:38 pm

After finally finding and viewing the Hollywood (Hellinger) site as there were 2 Hollywood theatres listed for NYC I see that it was built by Warner though the architect was Thomas W. Lamb. The fact that this former theatre is now a church is quite interesting and I wonder if anyone can provide photos of the interior to see how the Times Square Church has changed it to accommodate their spiritual needs?

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:40 pm

Two big names are associated with this theatre/church….Warner and Lamb! Amen!

Patsy
Patsy on February 13, 2006 at 1:57 pm

And some wonderful photos of this theatre can be viewed on the Hollywood Theatre (Hellinger) site by CT member, “EdSolero” on 1/10/06.

TomLamb
TomLamb on February 18, 2006 at 2:49 pm

Many, nany thanks to all who have responded to my post. I think there are thousands of stories to be told about TW and about all who have worked in his theaters.

It will take some time for me to take all this in and decide how to proceed.

All of your kind words and heartfelt recommendations are truly appreciated.

I do not quite understand how to contact site members directly by email. Any tips on how to make that possible would also be appreciated. I can be contacted through email at .com Best, Tom

stock008
stock008 on March 5, 2006 at 4:19 pm

well,well, well. Tom Lamb ,im the great grandson of John Cort. Your Great grandfather built the Cort Theatre on 48th street for my grand father. “Im currently looking for information on him and his many theatres and productions. Do you have any memoribilia about this partnership,stories. Ill ask my father also John Cort if he has any stories> cheers Chris Cort

JimRankin
JimRankin on March 6, 2006 at 3:27 am

Mr. Lamb: You contact individual members directly through their E-mail addresses which are supposed to be listed under CONTACT on their Profile pages which one gets to by clicking on their names in blue at the ends of their Comments. All can add their E-mails by ckicking on ‘Profile’ in the upper right corner of any page, once one has signed on (which is automatic after one Registers —if one has ‘cookies’ turned on, on one’s computer.) One can put his E-mail directly into a Comment, but the CONTACT provision on a member’s Profile page is designed to thwart the automated ‘robots’ (computers) which nightly scan the Web sites looking for new E-mails to “harvest” so as to add them to spam lists. Some members don’t want to be contacted at all, so they do not leave any CONTACT data, while others will give mailing address and phone numbers as well. So, let’s all at least list our E-mails in the CONTACT field so that others can contact us.

RMG
RMG on April 14, 2006 at 8:38 pm

Has anyone heard of a russian emigre, Nicholas Vassilieve, who may have done alot of design work for Thomas Lamb?

Thanks,
Richard

JohnThielke
JohnThielke on December 21, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Mr. Lamb: I note the posting above from Chris Cort. I would like to get in contact with Mr. Cort. I am a distant cousin of John Cort and have some family information to share with him. Can you please send my email address to him and ask him to contact me? Thank you for your help. John Thielke

stock008
stock008 on December 21, 2006 at 8:30 pm

Chris cort please respond your name sounds familiar

Patsy
Patsy on December 22, 2006 at 4:47 am

I just recently received the book, The Last Remaining Seats by Ben Hall and Thomas Lamb among many other names such as Eberson and Rapp & Rapp are mentioned. Lamb was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1887 and came to the United States when he was twelve.

TomLamb
TomLamb on February 13, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Hello all,

Sorry not to have come back sooner and checked my posting for comments, but life has been very hectic for the last year.
There is a new development: I will be interviewed for a documentary on TW and the Stanley Theater in Utica next week, and am really looking forward to the whole experience. They contacted me through this post.
On to some of the above postings…Richard, you may find information at the Avery library of Columbia University in NYC. Wikipedia Thomas W. Lamb and you will find more information there.
And Patsy, thanks for keeping the flame of this posting going!
and many thanks to all for checking in.
Cheers, Tom

McCarroll
McCarroll on February 14, 2007 at 4:12 am

Hi Tom:

Here is something that you may want to add to your great grandfathers portfolio that is not lsted here. In particular the Empire Cinema on Leiscester Square in London built during the period 1926-1928. My father, Joseph A McCarroll, worked for the Lamb firm from 1925-1930 and was the manager who competed the job. He said it was the first Amerian motion picture theatre built in Europe. It may also have been called the Ritz or the Roxy. There may have been a second one. I had thought that it had been destoryed in the blitz but there is a newpaper clipping in my fathers portfolio dated 1952 of a theatre whose marquee says “Empire Ritz” with a notation in my fathers hand that he was “London Manager, 1927-28” that would indicated that is in fact surviced the bombing or was rebuilt.

On another matter, I have in my possession and rendering of an unidentified gothic style church done by my father. I thought that it was done while he was in private practice in 1923 but after looking at it more closely, it could be dated 1928. The date and the almost certainty that the church, if it ever was constructed, would be in the new York City area are the only clues I have. Thus my question to you is, did your great grandfather’s firm ever do churches and if so do you have a record of same that were done around 1928. I love to hear from anybody who might help me in this “search for a church”

TomLamb
TomLamb on February 14, 2007 at 4:32 am

Bill, thanks for this new information. I did some more investigation online regarding TW,and came up with this website: View link
The site lists several buildings held by Emporis that list TW Lamb as the architect. It appears that there is precedent for work other than theaters for the firm. Among the notable buildings is the Paramount Hotel in NYC. Given this information, a church commission would not be out of the realm of possibilities. I would steer you to the Avery Library at Columbia Universtiy in Manhattan. TW’s former partner in the firm donated TW’s work to the archive there. I would be quite interested in any other stories your father may have told you about his work with the Lamb firm. Thanks for responding to the post. Tom

Patsy
Patsy on February 14, 2007 at 6:15 am

Sure is nice to read so many interesting and informative posts here as it is a pleasure to have as a CT member, Thomas Lamb’s great grandson and namesake. I only wish we could all personally meet you. The one Lamb theatre that I have personally toured is the Landmark Theatre in Syracuse NY and it was simple breathtaking!

TomLamb
TomLamb on February 14, 2007 at 8:18 am

Bill, I just rec’d a spreadsheet from Avery with a listing of all the drawings they have on file. In that list, is the Methodist Episcopal Church in Arlington NJ. No date is given for the project drawings. Hope this helps.

McCarroll
McCarroll on February 14, 2007 at 9:18 am

Tom:

Thanks so much; I’ll check out that Episcopal Church. Thanks also for the tip rfegarding the Avery Library. That could be useful to me for other endeavors. I’ll keep you posted

Bill

McCarroll
McCarroll on February 17, 2007 at 12:52 pm

Hi Tom:
Here are a couple of web sites about the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London. The first mentions your great grandfather as the architech, thus validating what my father had in his notes ( which also said “I put the job through after an English associate failed ”!). The second has a number of photographs of a rebuilding/ refurbishing in the 1980’s or 90’s. I don’t know how closely they followed the old design but it certainly is in the grand style, something your great grandfather and my father could take great pride in.

I’m checking out that “Episcopal church in Arlington, NJ”. It looks like a dead end. Arlington is a suburb of Kearny on the edge of the Meadowlands . Not exactly the place one would build a cathedral-like church!. I’m still looking. If you run across anything let me know.

Best regards,

Bill

View link
View link

McCarroll
McCarroll on February 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm

Hi Tom:
Here are a couple of web sites about the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square, London. The first mentions your great grandfather as the architech, thus validating what my father had in his notes ( which also said “I put the job through after an English associate failed ”!). The second has a number of photographs of a rebuilding/ refurbishing in the 1980’s or 90’s. I don’t know how closely they followed the old design but it certainly is in the grand style, something your great grandfather and my father could take great pride in.

I’m checking out that “Episcopal church in Arlington, NJ”. It looks like a dead end. Arlington is a suburb of Kearny on the edge of the Meadowlands . Not exactly the place one would build a cathedral-like church!. I’m still looking. If you run across anything let me know.

Best regards,

Bill

View link
View link

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on February 19, 2007 at 12:31 pm

Tom, Please email me at to discuss the Utica project. Thanks, Karen

gabriella123
gabriella123 on September 14, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Hi Tom Lamb,
I was looking at historic homes and stumbled upon a summer home for sale in Elizabethtown New York Adirondacks). It states that it was built by your Great Grandfather as his private summer residence. Did you know about this? There are several lovely photos that you may want to add to your collection (something on a personal level).His name led me to research him and that led me to this site!
The realty name was www.adkrealty.com (It’s being listed as Cobble Mountain Lodge) Hope you have some fun with this information!
I’m curious, does building run in the family? My Dad was a stonemason and it has been fun to see different nieces and nephews veer towards building and architechture. You should be very proud of his contributions

stock008
stock008 on September 16, 2007 at 12:01 am

I just read the book EMILLEE KART and the SEVEN SAVING SIGNS thanks to all that reccommended it I hear its being made into a play? From one of the posts its debuting in a struggling Lamb theatre? anywho the book WAS better than Narnia and in par with Harry Potter.

Legalamb
Legalamb on January 2, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Hi, Son,
I just read all the replies to your posting. Keep on truckin'!

louis
louis on February 19, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Good Evening, Mr. Lamb. My name is Louis Belloisy and I am the house photographer and historian for the wonderfully restored Palace Theater in Waterbury, Connecticut. Our grand theater was designed by your Great Grandfather and opened in January of 1922.

I was thrilled to come across your post in Cinema Treasure about Thomas Lamb.

I am constantly doing research on our theater and would like to know more about your G.G and Salvatore Z. Poli who commissioned Mr. Lamb to design our theater.

Please take a few minutes to peruse my web site on the Palace Theater. There are many photos of the newly restored theater. We were closed down and empty for 18 years and recently re-opened in November of 2004.

my web site is: www.palacewaterbury.com

and the web site for the actual theater is: http://www.palacetheaterct.org/

Please respond,

thank you,

Louis Belloisy

nycandre
nycandre on April 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Hi – just wanted to mention that I stumbled the other day on a Thomas Lamb building on West 67th street (or maybe 68 .. ). This previously must have been the HQ of the Order of the Knights of Pythias, now a private condo – but the renovations have kept the beautiful facade, and as far as I could see, the vestibule entrance.

You can see some photos there:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nycandre/2439993712/
And if anyone is interested I have many more that I have not posted.
Best,
nycandre -at- ya hoo -dot- com

syrnostalgic
syrnostalgic on May 13, 2009 at 5:39 pm

Dear Tom,

What a pride you must have in your name !

Here in Syracuse, we still have the honor of a 1928 Thomas Lamb theater, the Landmark (i.e. Loew’s). It was one of 5 or 6 theaters that once made South Salina Street an Upstate Broadway. But just a few doors South of it was another Lamb theater – the B.F. Keith’s. It was as beautifully Neoclassic as Loew’s is posh Baroque/Near Eastern exotic. (I’m not a formally trained student of architecture, so no doubt I’m getting my stylistic categories wrong, but I’m sure you get my drift.) Anyhow, I remember the Syracuse Keith’s – God, she was a beauty. It’s “face” on the west side of South Salina Street was a huge, fan-shaped set of windows. Its interior was mostly white wood (?), and its acoustics were known to be fabulous. It opened on January 26, 1920 with vaudevile star Belle Baker as the main attraction. It remained till 1967, when, during the ugly, bone-headed days of Urban Renewal, it (she !) and two blocks' worth of lively, varied storefronts were demolished for a big 4-story department store which itself is now “sleeping with the fishes.” (I was 7 years old when it was taken down.) The Keith’s huge Wurlitzer organ was saved, though, and now resides in the Empire Theater on the State Fair Grounds), along with some other Keith’s artifacts. Although the Keith’s seated almost 2000, and there was talk even back then of the need for a new Civic Center to house the Syracuse Symphony, still, the Old Girl was demolshed anyway. So-o-o…less than a decade later, we had to build a new Civic Center which ended up with “OK” acoustics and nowhere near the beauty. It seems that restoration just wasn’t “interesting” enough to the leadership of the time. (On the other hand, laying in new concrete…You get the idea.)

Anyhow, are you (or anyone reading this) aware if the Syracuse Keith’s had any surviving “twins” or “sisters” or even “close cousins” elsewhere? If so I’d love to make a pilgrimage.

my web address : [e-mail]

Thanks,

Mark E. Farrington

perryman
perryman on October 4, 2009 at 1:22 pm

hi tom , i have a original leaded stained glass exit sign from the loews midland threatre here in kansas city mo. , from the 1920,s , i have it listed on craigslist for sale under collectables if interested , looks to be 1 of three only made , thanks , j.r. 816-876-6491

plasakow
plasakow on July 15, 2016 at 11:18 am

I’m aware that trying to find Mr. Lamb by this avenue years after the original post isn’t likely to bear fruit, but if he or nyone that knows how I might contact him, kindly email me at . I manage a Lamb building and would very much like to contact his descendent.

Thanks!

AnnikaL
AnnikaL on October 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

I also am hoping to contact Mr. Lamb or any other descendants of Thomas Lamb for a potential documentary project I’m working on. I too, am aware that posting here might not bear fruit but I figured I’d try! If anyone knows Mr. Lamb’s contact or that of any other descendants, please email me at . Thanks so much!

greystone
greystone on May 26, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Tom and everyone in this blog. Please follow us on Twitter to see our progress while restoring Thomas W. Lamb vacation house in the Adirondack. Hope you enjoy our journey through Twitter. https://twitter.com/LePetitChateaux

sirking79
sirking79 on September 15, 2017 at 9:02 pm

howdy, your websites are really good. I appreciate your work.Natural Food Series

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