February 7, 2006
YEADON, PA — The Borough Council of Yeadon has voted 6-1 in favor of razing the 1937 Yeadon Theatre, an Art Moderne movie house which is one of the last John Eberson-designed theaters in the Philadelphia area, according to a story in the Daily Times. A fire on January 8th caused extensive damage to the theater, which was already in poor shape in 2003 when demolition of the Yeadon was halted at the last moment (after a wrecking ball already knocked down the rear wall of the theater).
It was hoped that the facade and lobby of the theater would be salvaged, but according to Borough President Vivian Ford, only a few elements will be saved, including the theater’s name from the marquee, exit signs, and bricks. “Environmentally, it’s not safe,” says Ford, “There’s mold and rodents. It’s an accident waiting to happen. If there’s nothing salvageable, I don’t think we should keep it. For the good of our community, I’d rather see it go.”
Architect Margaret Westfield, a preservation specialist, reported to the Borough that “all significant interior fixtures and finishes” that made the landmark worth saving were ruined in the arson fire in January. Westfield says, “The tangible fabric that illustrated architect John Eberson’s Art Moderne vision for the theater’s interior was completely lost”.
February 1, 2006
YEADON, PA — Howard Haas has sent in the following note (and links):
“The Yeadon Theater, built in 1937 in Yeadon, PA, last surviving John Eberson-designed theater in the Philadelphia area and one of the last Art Moderne theaters in the area, may be demolished. The town council may vote February 2nd to demolish without meeting with a movie operator interested in reopening the theater.”
Philadelphia Inquirer story: http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/news/local/13759690.htm
Link to 2003 photos: http://www.robbender.com/gallery/yeadon
January 24, 2006
While the theater’s exterior has been an official landmark since 1989, the interior does not have the same protections. (You can see a few shots of the interior here.)
Mr. Bialek has been authorized by the Landmarks Preservation Commission to demolish the interior of the Metro, whose exterior was declared a landmark in 1989. He said he is considering leasing the space to a dinner theater, a restaurant or a store, or perhaps reopening it as a multiplex.
This is indeed a sad day for moviegoers in Manhattan. The megaplexes continue to eat away at the city’s remaining single and twin screen moviehouses.
(Thanks to Howard Haas for sending this in!)
January 20, 2006
HUNTINGTON, WV — “One of the few fully functioning first-run movie palaces left in the United States will cease operating as a movie theatre Sunday Jan. 22, 2006,” Tony Rutherford writes in today’s Huntington News.
“Huntington’s Keith Albee survived the downfall of vaudeville, a flood, the development of television, and mall competition, but the Thomas Lamb atmospheric theatre built in 1928 could not withstand the opening of the Marquee Cinemas 16-screen multiplex at Pullman Square.”
For more information, read today’s Huntington News.
January 19, 2006
LAKE MILLS, IA — A non-proft group, Lake Mills Entertainment, Inc., has made a request to the city of Lake Mills to demolish the 1937 Art Moderne Mills Theatre, closed since 2001, and build a new movie theater on the same site, according to the Globe Gazette.
The group originally wanted to restore the Mills but it has deteriorated so badly since it was shuttered that according to Lake Mill Entertainment’s president, Scott Helgeson, tearing it down and constructing a new theater would be much cheaper. Thus far the group has raised over $40,000 towards the project, but Helgeson says they’ll need financial support from the city “to get over the hump”. No decision has been made yet by the city of Lake Mills according to Mayor Dave Anderson.
January 13, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Brattle Theater is in the middle of its largest and most serious fundraising campaign in its 53 year history. You can read about the campaign and the history of the theater here: http://www.brattlefilm.org
In October 2005, the Brattle initiated the “Preserve the Legacy” campaign. The goals of the fundraising drive was to raise $400,000 by the end of 2005 and an additional $100,000 by the end of 2006. Due to strong community support for this non-profit theater, the response and media converage has been overwhelming. Although they did not meet this lofty goal by the end of the year, the good news is that the Brattle was given a 1 year lease extension and now has all of 2006 to raise the remaining money.
As of January 1st 2006, the Brattle has raised $200,000, but they need to raise $300,000 more before February of 2007. If you love old theaters and preserving classic venues, please contribute whatever you can via the Brattle website. They could use all of the help they can.
January 6, 2006
FLUSHING, NY — Our friend, Thomas Stathes (Tom S.), has organized a petition to save one of the historically & architecturally most important theaters; the RKO Keith’s Theatre in its entirety.
The theater is located at 129-43 Northern Blvd, Flushing, N.Y. The current owner, Boymelgreen, plans to only save the landmarked lobby, & demolish at least 95% of the cherishable theater, for a glass curtain to view the lobby and a glass multi-use high-rise. I urge everyone “Nationwide” to sign the RKO Keith petition, & show your support, since time is of the essence! In addition, please forward the petition link to as many contacts as possible:
We believe it is of utmost importance to: 1.Fully restore & rebuild ALL architectural features which make the RKO Keith a distinguishable famed theater (Facade, auditorium, lobby, etc); 2.Encourage developer Boymelgreen to compromise by building above the RKO Keith, which will leave the base as it was always meant to be. The Keith was already built once, & there is adequate funding, so there’s no reason why it can’t be preserved/restored in its entirety, to respect its significance & grandeur; 3.Let the public be heard, and factor in the concerns of the majority; 4.The Landmarks Preservation Commission should landmark the RKO Keith’s, & work with Boymelgreen closely.
December 2, 2005
RICHMOND, VA — The Historic Richmond Foundation is currently considering plans to sell the National Theater. Contracts are currently being considered with restrictions as to reuse of this historic structure. One potential reuse includes the addition of a 120 room hotel above the current structure.
The National Theatre in downtown Richmond has several potential buyers, including a group looking to purchase it and hold it for the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation.
The Historic Richmond Foundation, which owns the theater at 700 E. Broad St., has sent copies of a draft contract to several suitors and is looking for responses by Wednesday, said John Owen Gwathmey, the group’s president.
The National is listed for sale at $1.55 million, but the contract has a space for a price to be added, Gwathmey said. It also includes significant restrictions on how the historic theater could be altered.
Groups Step Up to Acquire The National
November 29, 2005
I have just read and signed the online petition: “Save the Historic Uptown Theatre in Chicago,” which is hosted on the web by a free online petition service, at:
I personally agree with what this petition says, and I think you might agree, too. If you can spare a moment, please take a look, and consider signing it yourself.
The petition was started by Ted and Joanne, two Uptown residents who are among the best and most active Friends of the Uptown volunteers at this time.
EverGreene Painting Studios, Inc.
November 17, 2005
PASADENA, CA — After a tireless effort to save the majestic Raymond Theatre by the Friends of the Raymond Theatre, the Pasadena Star News is reporting, “The city’s Design Commission has given Gene Buchanan the green light to convert the historic Raymond Theatre into condominiums and office space, dealing a heavy blow to those who want to see the 1921 theater restored.”
Although the panel voted to approve Buchanan’s plan 5-3, an appeal can still be filed.