Preservation Alert

  • 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.

  • January 5, 2011

    Olympia Theatre in foreclosure

    PALMETTO, FL — The Olympia Theatre which opened in 1916 as the first movie theater on the West Coast of Florida is in foreclosure and will be auctioned off in February 2011.

    Manatee Circuit Court Judge Edward Nicholas awarded a Sarasota County private lender a $419,913.63 foreclosure judgment against Olympia owners Joel and Cindy Jarvis on Dec. 13.

    According to court records, the Jarvises borrowed $280,000 from Gordon D. Hester on May 28, 2008, and were unable to pay back the loan and $55,655.93 in interest that had accrued through Dec. 10.


  • November 18, 2010

    Historic Ridgewood Theatre needs saviour ASAP

    QUEENS, NY — Please help in any way you can: Friends of the Ridgewood Theatre in Ridgewood, NY is seeking a historically-minded performing arts group &/or film operator ASAP, or its rare Adamesque interior by Thomas Lamb will be gone forever and Queens and Brooklyn will be robbed of a true theater of great potential for emerging artists and NYC patrons. Opened in 1916, this is Queens' earliest theater, which experienced the evolution of vaudeville and film. The outside is landmarked, but that is not enough. Please spread the word, and with potential leads.

    These are some photos.

    Also, join the Facebook Group for Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, & encourage your friends to join by clicking on “invite people to join link.” This gem’s future is up to US!

    • Michael Perlman
      Friends of The Ridgewood Theatre, Chair
      Four Borough Neighborhood Preservation Alliance, Queens VP
  • August 17, 2010

    Classic art deco theater in jeopardy

    HOOPESTON, IL — Dangerously empty lately, the Lorraine Theatre has had a hard time making a profit.

    “The overall attendance for 2010 versus 2009 is down almost 20 percent. The killer was July,” said owner Josh Caudle. “July 2010 attendance was down nearly 70 percent versus July 2009.”

    Attendance is the key that represents ticket sales and revenues to the movie studios.

    “So far in 2010,” he said, “the Lorraine has played 14 films where the tickets sales didn’t recoup the cost to the studios for providing us the films. They are therefore unwilling to continue to give us films.”

    Read more in the Commercial News.

  • August 3, 2010

    Ridglea Theater in danger

    FORT WORTH, TX — The beautiful Ridglea Theater is in peril now. The local news has broadcast that the current owners want to demolish it to make way for retail sales. The locals are trying to figure out how to save it. It was reported that the group “Historic Ft Worth” are now giving tours of the theater for this purpose. These folks really need help to save this treasure!!

    The Ridglea Theatre is still more-or-less where we left it last time – the threat of demolition hanging over it, with Bank of America looking at demolishing almost the entire structure to build a drive-through bank branch. Councilman Zimmerman still refuses to try to get the building designated historic (and when even Chuck Silcox said it should be designated and the current councilman won’t, that’s not a good sign), and preservation groups including Historic Fort Worth are still arguing for the complex’s significance.

    Read more in the Pegasus News.