Colonia Theatre

35 South Broad Street,
Norwich, NY 13815

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Showing 26 - 41 of 41 comments

merripit on December 10, 2006 at 2:51 pm

estott,-Can you tell me where I could find the pictures you mention of the original 1914 interior? Much obliged!!

estott on December 3, 2006 at 11:53 am

The name is the result of a contest- an Italian citizen suggested “Colonia” to honor Colon Italy, the birthplace of Columbus.
I’ve seen some pictures of the original 1914 interior, it was a pretty typical affair of foliate plasterwork. with a lot of decorative painting on the ceiling. The ornaments on the balcony front were removed in the 30’s after a minor fire & at that time the interior was redone in a deco style which primarily consisted of painting the plaster ornaments dark brown with silver highights and putting deco patterns on the ceiling. Oddly enough the original ceiling painting remained, a rennaisance dame sitting sidesaddle on a white horse with a bird in her hand. In it’s glory days the occasional live show graced it’s rather shallow stage, including Sousa’s Band, and a touring company of “Shuffle Along”.

SchineHistorian on November 29, 2006 at 4:17 pm

More info:

While this is an Eberson original decor, any original scheme has been completely obliterated in the lobby and auditorium. (The facade still shows a lot of it, including the great exterior doors) But if you go to the balcony (which is closed and NOT accessible) you will see much of Eberson’s deco/art moderne work. It was not an atmospheric but one of this “running bands” designs that had color bands running from the stage to the back of the balcony. There were faux side boxes with some rather fancy ornamentation. All of this has been hidden since they put up the false ceiling and ran ductwork for the ventillation all across the balcony area.

Still, the representation of the Colonia in Davis Cone’s book really captures the essence of this cute little deco house.

SchineHistorian on November 29, 2006 at 3:39 pm


: D “That’s the most ridiculous ting i’ve ever hoyd!”

kencmcintyre on November 29, 2006 at 2:44 pm

The legend is that the original name was the Colonial. The theater operator, a Cockney gentleman, was disturbed by the poor worksmanship of the man installing the marquee and told him to “get the bloody ‘ell off of there”. The rest is history.

SchineHistorian on November 29, 2006 at 2:34 pm

This theater was part of the Schine chain at one point. Just FYI
: )

roberttoplin on August 7, 2006 at 9:02 pm

KenRoe: W.M. was the name printed in the Evening Sun of Norwich. It stated …of New York, so most probably it was a typo and they are one in the same. Sorry for the confusion.

strawberry on April 20, 2006 at 10:57 am

There is a small picture of the Colonia in 1998 at
and an even smaller one at View link.

In the 1988 book * Hollywood on Main Street – the Movie House Paintings of Davis Cone by Linda Chase there is a watercolor painting of the Colonia on page 10. Judging by the movies on the marquee in the painting (All of Me and Thief of Hearts*) it looks like the watercolor shows what the theater looked like in late 1984. At that time, the marquee was blue and the trim was yellow. The original 1986 watercolor measures 13 by 16 inches and is in the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

You can see some of Mr. Cone’s later work at View link. He also has a more recent book from 2001 called Popcorn Palaces: The Art Deco Movie Theatre Paintings of Davis Cone.

KenRoe on January 25, 2006 at 1:10 am

RJT; Architect W.M. McElfatrick, any relation to William H. McElfatrick (already listed on Cinema Treasures Architect’s database) or could they be the same person?

roberttoplin on January 24, 2006 at 8:39 pm

The “Colonia”, on South Broad Street and American Avenue, opened on the evening of December 23,1914. It was designed by W.M.McElfatrick and the Decorations were by Edward J. Murnane and Brother. It was still a theatre when I was there in 1998. You can check the Norwich Sun of the above date for the Grand Opening.

teecee on October 15, 2005 at 7:42 am

Both good questions but no information is given.

deleted user
[Deleted] on October 9, 2005 at 3:53 pm

Which church was the organ moved to? Is the organ still in existence?

teecee on August 29, 2005 at 2:27 am

A Wurlitzer organ, opus 1618, was installed in the Colonial Theater on 4/19/1927. In 1970, it was moved to a local church.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 22, 2005 at 4:09 pm

This theater was called the Fox Colonia in the 1930’s. The following paragraph is from The Daily Star Online.

“The Gillette trial captured the imagination of a nation at the time, as metropolitan newspapers staffed the event. From that trial came the book "An American Tragedy” by Theodore Drieser, published in 1925, and a movie by the same name in 1931. At the Fox Colonia Theater in Norwich, more than 6,000 people attended the movie in a three-day period. The Browns hated the publicity the book and movie gave their daughter and sued the movie producers for $150,000. They received an undisclosed settlement in 1934. Two additional books have been published, in 1986 and 1998".

The full article is here.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on August 22, 2005 at 3:40 pm

Here is a small photo of the Colonia Theater.