Preservation Alert

  • May 2, 2011

    ‘'Oldest cinema in the country" facing demolition

    WARE, MA — The Casino Theater in Ware, which dates to 1909 and may well be the oldest purpose-built movie theater in the USA, is in danger of being demolished. Efforts have been launched to forestall the destruction and to allow more time for a possible rescuer to come forward. The theater last operated as a twin.

    There is more about the effort to rescue the Casino at

  • April 27, 2011

    Popcorn N Roses launch the “Save Our Screens” campaign

    Popcorn N Roses has launched a new program aimed at helping theaters in need in the US and around the world.

    Dubbed the “Save Our Screens” campaign, this new feature on our parent site at Popcorn N Roses will also be featured in a regular segment on our weekly podcast, Subject:CINEMA, and will probably be spun off into it’s own blog in the near future.

    The campaign was inspired by the events in the 2006 documentary Preserve Me A Seat by director Jim Fields, and in particular the campaigns to save the Indian Hills Theatre in Omaha and the Gaiety Theatre (aka Publix Theatre) in PNR’s home base of Boston. Neither campaign was a success, and it was mostly due to local politics at the time.

  • April 19, 2011

    Calling theatre angels! Historic theatre closing!

    TOLEDO, OH — An untouched original 1926 neighborhood theatre is in need of saving! For 30 years it has had X rated programming, but the building has been occupied and heated, so this is NOT a long-derelict falling apart theatre! The Westwood Theatre, 1602 Sylvania Avenue, is located in a modest older, middle-class part of the city. It is stadium-style seating about 600. The original chandeliers are there and there is some plaster damage.

    Theatre operation will cease in May, 2011. I am willing to assist as well as donate a theater pipe organ for the long empty chambers.

    for more information.

  • April 15, 2011

    Two theaters among “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places” in Illinois

    Landmarks Illinois annual “Ten Most Endangered Historic Places” list was announced last week and includes the New Regal Theater in Chicago and the Will Rogers Theater in Charleston. Also, on a theater-related note, the Park Ridge home and studio of Alfonso Ianelli (1888-1965), the sculptor who designed the interiors of two Chicago-area theaters, the Catlow Theater in Barrington and the Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge, is also on the list.

    See this link for the full list and further details of Landmarks Illinois' “Ten Most” program, which was launched in 1995.

  • April 14, 2011

    Wheaton Grand to be demolished?

    WHEATON, IL — When 56 percent of voters in last Tuesday’s election rejected a proposal that would have set aside up to $150,000, the fate of the theatre may have been decided. The building that first opened its doors as a vaudeville house in 1925 has long been the center of controversy over various plans to renovate it. The current owner (Suburban Bank & Trust) will continue to try to sell the property or ultimately, we believe, the building will be demolished and we will be left with an empty lot in the heart of downtown Wheaton, similar to what happened to the DuPage Theater in Lombard.

    Option One: Wheaton Grand Theater as a Live Performance Theater
    Option Two: Wheaton Grand Theater as a 9 or 10 screen, First Run Movie Complex
    The private theater operator would invest a majority of the funds needed to buy the property, build the structure, and fund the operation.
    A new parking structure will probably need to be built by the city to handle the anticipated need.

  • March 29, 2011

    Curtains for the historic Takoma Theatre?

    WASHINGTON, DC — The landmark Takoma Theatre might soon be demolished. According to an article in the March 21, 2011 edition of the
    Washington Post, the current owner of the abandon theatre working to have the ornate building razed in order to construct an apartment complex.

    The District has rejected all of McGinty’s applications to raze the building, along with his appeals.

    Now, adding urgency to the script, McGinty is openly rejecting an order from the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs to repair the Takoma’s roof, gutters and downspouts and to repaint the exterior of a building that hasn’t been used regularly since 2006.

  • March 25, 2011

    Fight to re-open Grand Hall

    SWANSEA, WEST GLAMORGAN, WALES — The practically 150-year old Albert Hall has been vacant for awhile. With its future in doubt, one local resident is rallying to raise awareness for the city’s treasure.

    Reading rooms, a music hall and a cinema in its distinguished time, the Albert Hall closed as the Mecca Bingo Club four years ago. Since then, it has lain empty and from the outside offers a sad picture of decline. But there are people who care for this piece of Swansea heritage. Campaigner Paulette Pelosi is one and a few weeks ago implored others to follow her lead and make an effort to ensure its survival.

    “Let’s do something on this, at least attempt a rescue,” she said. “Swansea has an awful habit of letting the few important historic buildings fall to dust.”

    Read the full story in This is South Wales.

  • February 15, 2011

    Historic Movie Theaters of Center City Philadelphia

    PHILADELPHIA, PA — An article was published February 9, 2011 online on “Historic Movie Theaters of Center City” by Shawn Evans, AIA discusses many downtown Philadelphia movie theaters and emphasizes the importance of preserving the Boyd.

    The economics of the motion-picture business today make it unlikely that the few surviving structures will be restored solely for film, yet these buildings retain a powerful hold on the collective imagination. We are unwilling to let them go. Like the damsels in distress tied to the railroad tracks in so many of the movies that played inside, their future is momentarily uncertain. We await creative rescue plans that can return these buildings to the public.

    Here’s a link to the article which is illustrated with photos from the Archives of the City of Philadelphia. Cinema Treasures is cited in many footnotes as a source.

  • February 11, 2011

    Odeon Edinburgh in danger

    EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND — Southside Community Council are running a campaign to try to stop the deterioration of this wonderful Art Deco cinema, which has been allowed to fall into serious disrepair by its current owners. Please see our website at for full details plus an online petition. We want the City of Edinburgh to initiate urgent compulsory repairs to make the building wind and water tight, and also to set in motion compulsory purchase proceedings so that ownership of this building can transfer to someone who will restore it and return it to use as a cinema and arts venue.

  • February 8, 2011

    City Council rejects plea to declare Beach 4 historic

    CAPE MAY, NJ — The latest news regarding the Beach 4 is not good news for those working to save the theater from demolition. The City Council refused to confirm the determination of the Historic Preservation Commission that the cinema has historic character. The ball is now apparently back in the court of the Zoning Board, which will not meet again until the end of March. The fate of the sixty-one-year-old theater has been in controversy since at least 2007.

    The appeal came from Clay Street resident Jeanne Powick and Congress Street resident Barbara Skinner, who want council to declare the Beach Theatre “a key contributing building,” which in historic preservation terms means it would have some protections against the wrecking ball. Powick argued that historic properties boost tourism and property values.

    “An historic property is at very high risk right now,” Powick said.

    There is more in the Press of Atlantic City.