Comments from Joe Vogel

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Strand Theatre on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:24 am

A 1979 booklet called “Living in Dorchester” (available at this link from Archive.org) cites architectural historian Douglass Shand Tucci as saying that Funk & Wilcox’s design for the Strand Theatre featured an Adamesque interior and a Classical Revival facade.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Jul 6, 2011 at 1:02 am

I’m not sure why it’s not working for you, Ron. As long as the “Update” button hasn’t already been used, and thus removed, I’ve always been able to reset the street views to the correct location. It might be a browser issue. I’ve only ever reset views using Opera, so I don’t know whether or not there are other browsers that don’t work properly with the Update feature.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rowland Theatre on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:43 am

Architect Julian Millard (not Hillard) was apparently also the designer of the Capitol Theatre at Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capitol Theatre on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:41 am

The Capitol must have been the planned theater mentioned in the “Building News” section of the July 24, 1912, issue of The American Architect: “Altoona.-Architect Julian Millard is drawing plans for a theater to be erected for Gamble Bros, on the site of the property at the corner of Eleventh Ave. and Fourteenth St. Cost, $25,000.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Jul 5, 2011 at 5:32 am

The NRHP has another typo in its information, pasted in lostmemory’s comment of July 31, 2005. The names of the architects were Osterman and Siebert, not Osreman and Siebert.

That the Liberty Theatre should have a somewhat Rhinelandish look is not surprising. Architect Henry Osterman was born near Essen, Germany, in 1862, and only arrived in the United States in 1889. He was a builder before setting himself up as an architect, and was largely self-taught. He practiced on his own until 1912, when he formed his partnership with Victor Siebert, then a recent graduate of the Boston School of Technology.

Osterman probably maintained considerable contact with Germany, to which his three brothers had all returned by 1896. He most likely read German publications and kept up with the stylistic trends of the old country.

I detect in the Liberty’s unusual design strong hints of the Jugendstil, the German form of Art Nouveau which flourished in the late 19th-early 20th century. We could do worse than to classify this theater as Art Nouveau. I think Tudor Revival is certainly less appropriate. The building doesn’t really have much of the Tudor about it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Montesano Theater on Jul 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Zoom in all the way on the photo KenLayton linked to, and it looks like there might be a ghost sign on the theater’s side wall. On the other hand, it might just be years of accumulated dirt. I can’t make out any actual letters, but either way, the building was already pretty old in 1929. From the architectural style of the facade, I’d guess that it was built no later than the early 1920s, and more likely sometime in the 1910s, and perhaps even earlier.

If the building dates from as early as 1908, it might be the 400-seat Opera House at Montesano which was included on a list of theaters published in the September 5 issue of The Billboard that year. I haven’t found a theater at Montesano listed in any editions of Julius Cahn’s Theatrical Guide, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Alkrama Theatre on Jul 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm

You could well be right about the connection between the names Alkrama and Kramer, David. A scan of the newspaper item I cited in the description of the theater is available online here. Part of the scan is too dark to read, but the readable part of the article does mention a Mr. Kramer being involved in the project, though it doesn’t make any explicit any connection between the names Kramer and Alkrama. Noting some of the guests at the opening, the article includes

“…little Vera Scott, who has the honor of suggesting the name Alkrama, and to whom is due the fact that Elizabeth City’s new theatre has a new name- one that will hardly be found in other city or town and yet that is as euphonious as the best sounding of the old favorites.”
A few lines farther on, the article says
“…Messrs. Kramer and Nutter deserved praise for the enterprise with which they had carried out their project and for the faith they had shown in Elizabeth City.”
The 1913-1914 edition of Julius Cahn’s theatrical guide lists the Alkrama Theatre, Kramer & Nutter, managers. The newspaper article doesn’t say how old little Vera Scott was in 1912, but she is undoubtedly long gone now, so the story of how she arrived at the name Alkrama may be lost to history, unless it’s preserved in some old publication as yet unavailable on the Internet.

The 1912 newspaper article says that the Alkrama replaced the older Gaiety as Elizabeth City’s leading theater. The Gaiety was listed in the 1910-1911 Cahn guide as a 350-seat house that was at the time being used only for vaudeville and moving pictures. The manager of the Gaiety was John Nutter.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about New Nothing Cinema on Jul 3, 2011 at 7:28 pm

The New Nothing Cinema’s weblog hasn’t been updated since April, 2009.

There is also a Facebook page, but that was last updated on October 16, 2010, and that update is about an event taking place in New York City.

I did find one listing for a movie at the New Nothing Cinema, scheduled for April 20 this year, but I can’t find anything more recent. I don’t know if this means the place is no longer open, or is open only intermittently, or if they have just quit promoting it on the Internet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Village Cinema on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Street View has been “updated” to the wrong location. If you pan left, the move back down Fulton Street a few mouse clicks south, you can see a parking lot in between the gas station on the corner and the large development to the north. That’s where the Village Theatre was located. Looking directly at the parking lot, zoom in and you can recognize the buildings to either side of the theater looking almost exactly as they appear in the 2004 photo cubey linked to in an earlier comment.

Here is a link to the Heywood-Wakefield ad with the photo of the Village Theatre’s auditorium, in Boxoffice of April 1, 1950.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about National Theater on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm

The 1945 boxoffice article with the three small photos of the National Theatre, cited in one of my earlier comments, has been moved to this link. The photos of the National are at the lower right corner of the page.

There’s a discrepancy between the address of this theater and the description. The description places the National Theatre at the corner of Commerce Street and Santa Rosa Avenue, but that intersection marks the boundary between the 400 and 500 blocks of Commerce Street. But 819 Commerce is just east of Frio Street, four blocks west of Santa Rosa. Either the description is wrong or the address is wrong.

After looking at a 1955 aerial view of both intersections at Historic Aerials, I’m inclined to believe that it’s the address that is wrong. A building on the northeast corner of Commerce and Santa Rosa had a roof that could have covered a large auditorium, plus a decorative tower near the corner of the building on the Commerce Street side, which the theater had. The buildings at Commerce and Frio didn’t have these features.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Roxy Theatre on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:55 am

A Roxy Theatre in Lewiston was mentioned in published sources as early as 1941. I’d assume it was this theater. I’ve also come across mention of a Rex Theatre in Lewiston operating in 1932. Possibly an aka for the Roxy? The signage would have been cheap to change.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Temple Theatre on Jul 3, 2011 at 5:22 am

The Masonic Temple Theatre is listed in the 1905-1906 edition of Julius Cahn’s Official Theatrical Guide. A Temple Theater Company is mentioned in sources published as early as 1915. It probably operated the house under a lease from the Masons.

The original ground floor facade had five round arches, the central three slightly larger and surmounted by a classical balustrade. The exterior style, at least, is not Gothic, but Italianate Classical Revival.

The upper floors of this building still serve as the quarters of the Calam Temple of the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. As the place was built for the Masons, I would imagine that a lodge hall is located on the third floor, suspended above the auditorium, but I’ve been unable to discover any details about the building. The configuration of the fire escapes and fenestration (some of it now sealed) suggests a large room on the third floor, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Lynn Theatre on Jul 3, 2011 at 4:17 am

Here is a fresh link to the March 1, 1947, Boxoffice item with architect Jack Corgan’s rendering of the proposed Texan Theatre in Gonzales, which was opened as the Lynn Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about St. James Theatre on Jul 1, 2011 at 6:57 pm

There’s a source with information that calls into question the claim that this theater was originally called the Rosenberg. Page 89 of “Asbury Park’s Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort,” by Helen-Chantal Pike, says:

“But when the St. James opened, its most noteworthy feature was located on the marquee. The name that topped the sign was Reade, and thereafter the father and his only son would be known, respectively, as Walter Reade Sr. and Walter Reade Jr.”
Also of note is this item in The Moving Picture World of August 5, 1916:
“Rosenberg Interested in Theater.

“Asbury Park.-The St. James Theater Company, Inc., has been formed with Henry Rosenberg, Helen L. Bergen, and Henry Sincer as incorporators. The registered office is at 300 Cookman avenue, and the authorized capital is $100,000.”

I don’t see why the St. James Theater Company would open their new house as the Rosenberg Theatre when Walter Rosenberg had already adopted the surname Reade by the time it opened. Also, in the whole wide Internet, this page of Cinema Treasures is the only place where the name “Rosenberg Theatre” appears. I’m not sure that Cinema Treasures is the most reliable source of information. ;–)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theater on Jul 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm

What a difference there is between the December, 2010, photo Andy linked to and the way the building looked when the Google Street View camera truck passed by sometime before the restoration took place! In the current Street View, the ground floor was all glass shop windows of the sort built in the 1950s and 1960s, and the upper floors were concealed behind a false front.

The new ground floor, at least, has to be a reconstruction rather than a restoration, as there was nothing there to restore. I don’t know how much remained of the original facade on the upper floors behind that false front, but as the center section was recessed a bit, and might have been merely concealed rather than removed, perhaps that part of the current facade is at least partly a restoration of the original. The cornice and marquee are certainly reconstructions, though.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Capri Theatre on Jul 1, 2011 at 5:26 am

Bill: Originally, parts of the current Chandler Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard, and Sherman Way were all named Sherman Way. The interurban cars of the Pacific Electric Railway ran down the center of the street, which was named for land developer and Pacific Electric bigwig Moses Sherman, one of Henry Huntington’s business partners.

Here’s a web page about street names in the Valley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Valentine Theatre on Jun 30, 2011 at 4:04 am

The original entrance of the Valentine Theatre on St. Clair Street still exists, though it now has only an awning instead of the marquee seen in the 1932 photo Chuck linked to earlier.

The Valentine was showing movies as early as 1908, when it was mentioned in an item in the July 25 issue of The Moving Picture World.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rivoli Theatre on Jun 30, 2011 at 3:11 am

wcjfrisk’s comment reminded me of something I’d seen, so I hunted down the following piece from the July 14, 1919, issue of The Toledo Blade, as quoted in a 1919 book called “Motion Pictures as a Phase of Commercial Amusement in Toledo, Ohio,” by John Joseph Phelan:

:“SITE LEASED FOR $300,000 THEATRE HERE

“New York Interests Take Arcade Property for Motion Picture and Vaudeville Bills.

“The Sun & James Amusement Co., New York, has leased the property now occupied by the Arcade theatre, St. Clair and Jackson streets, and will construct a $300,000 theatre building.

“The deal was closed Monday, through Thomas Davies, of the Thomas Davies Realty Co. The building, it is expected, will seat 3,000. It probably will be used for both vaudeville and moving pictures.

“Ready January 1.

“The building will be 90 by 170 feet, brick and concrete.

“Work in tearing down the old Arcade theatre building already has been commenced and it is planned to have the new theatre ready for opening January 1.

“Mrs. Nettie Poe Ketcham, New York, owns the Arcade theatre building and property. The Sun & James Co. lease is for 99 years.

“Office Space Later.

“Gus Sun operates a theatre in Springfield, O., and W. M. James, a former Toledo man, owns the Broadway theatre in Columbus. Other theatrical men are said to be interested also.

“The new theatre auditorium will be built back from the street and it is planned later to build a large office building surrounding it and facing on St. Clair and Jackson streets.”

The same book includes the Arcade Theatre (listed as the Strand Arcade) at 438-40 St. Clair, and gives its seating capacity as 1,224. As the Rivoli has nearly twice the seating capacity, this had to have been a virtually new theater, even if part of the old Arcade was incorporated into the new construction.

The 1903 edition of the State of Ohio’s “Annual report of the Department of Inspection of Workshops, Factories and Public Buildings” has an entry for the Arcade Theatre. It a statement of changes the Department had ordered to be made to the building:

“No. 20—Empire Arcade—Mrs. Nettie Poe Ketcham (Toledo), November 19, 1902—Change exit doors on Jackson street so as to open outward; cut down third and seventh windows from stage on east side of auditorium and convert them into doorways, doors to be hung so as to open outward; provide six chemical fire extinguishers of four-gallon capacity each, two to be placed on stage, two in rear end of auditorium and two In gallery, of such style as approved by the National Board of Underwriters; repair fastening to gate in alleyway, between the Arcade and Empire Theaters, so that same can be opened easily. Complied; certificate Issued.”

An item about the Valentine Theatre in the July 25, 1908, issue of The Moving Picture World also mentions both the Arcade Theatre and the Empire Theatre, saying that the Empire was across the street from the Valentine, and the Arcade was in the same block of St. Clair Street. It appears that the Arcade’s doors on Jackson Street were probably always exits, not an entrance, at least from 1902 on.

I was unable to find either the Rivoli or Palace mentioned by name in the list of C.Howard Crane’s theaters in “The Theater Designs of C. Howard Crane,” a thesis by Lisa Maria DiChiera, but the list includes the Empire Theatre in Toledo as project #345. The date is not given, but the Allen Theatre (later the Capitol) in London, Ontario, which opened in February, 1920, was listed as Project #343, so it fits the time frame of the Rivoli’s construction.

As both the Empire and the Arcade were owned by Nettie Poe Ketcham, it seems possible that the project of rebuilding the Arcade might be listed under the name of the same owner’s adjacent theater that was still in operation. The finely detailed Beaux Arts facade of the Rivoli is certainly characteristic of Crane’s work of the period. In fact, many of the details of the Rivoli’s facade are almost identical to details on the facade of Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, built about the same time. I’d say it’s very safe to assume that the Rivoli was indeed the work of C. Howard Crane.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Palace Theatre on Jun 30, 2011 at 1:59 am

The Palace was on North St. Clair Street, not South St. Clair. See Libbey’s comment made yesterday on the Rivoli Theatre page. The Rivoli was also on North St. Clair.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Broadway Theatre on Jun 29, 2011 at 5:18 pm

The building in the photo Warren linked to on April 15, 2009, has finally been identified. In a comment on the Bon Ton Theatre page, Bob Wilson says that it was the old Armory building, at Broadway and Johnston Street. It was not a theater.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Vitaphone Theatre on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:51 am

It turns out that the building next door north of the Vitaphone Theatre (the one with the sign reading Solomon’s Porch) was also once a theater. A list of historic buildings in downtown Wenatchee lists the structure at 17 S. Mission as the Mission Theatre, built in 1920.

The source of the list, a document prepared for the National Register of Historic Places, also gives a 1930 construction date for the Vitaphone Theatre. I still don’t think it looks like a building from as late as 1930. Maybe it wouldn’t look so old fashioned if it hadn’t been painted entirely grey.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Liberty Theatre on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:49 am

A document prepared for the National Register of Historic Places has information about the Liberty Theatre, including the fact that it was designed by architect Edwin W. Houghton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Caribe Theatre on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:46 am

The Moving Picture World was typically riddled with misspellings, so I’m not surprised they got the name of the hotel wrong. It was probably the publication that got the theater’s name wrong, too.

Does anyone know how long the Columbus Theatre remained open?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Jun 28, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Well, duh. It finally dawned on me that the building at 11 N. Wenatchee could not have been the Wenatchee Theatre, which was built in 1905.

Also, a list of historic buildings in downtown Wenatchee that I came across includes a Public Farmers Market building at 9 North Wenatchee Avenue. This has to be the same building with the antique mall that uses the address 11 N. Wenatchee. A marquee would not have been unusual on a building built as a public market.

But the Rialto was apparently not the 1913 project for J.E. Ferguson, either. The list of historic buildings comes from a document prepared for the National Register of Historic Places, and there is information about the Rialto in it. Unless the document is mistaken (I’ve known this to happen at times,) the Rialto was built in 1921 and was designed by Seattle architect Edwin W. Houghton.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel commented about Rialto Theater on Jun 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

It could have the future Rialto Theatre that was mentioned in the Building News section of the January 15, 1913, issue of American Architect and Architecture: “Announcement has been made that Sheriff J. E. Ferguson will erect a 2-story theater building on Wenatchee and Palouse Sts….”

If the 1913 project was the Rialto, then this earlier item from The Pacific Coast Architect of October, 1912, would also be about the Rialto: “Theater- Wenatchee. Architect J. A. Creutzer prepared plans for a two-story brick and concrete theater building for J. W. Ferguson, to cost $50,000.” (This item got Ferguson’s middle initial wrong. It was definitely E.)

However, in Don’s 1940 photo, the building on the near side of Palouse Street, next door to the six-story building on the corner, has what looks like a theater marquee. The marquee is still there now, and the building is being used as an antique mall. Could this building also have been a theater? The address is 11 N. Wenatchee. As this building is about as close to Palouse Street as the Rialto is, it’s possible that, if it was a theater, this was the 1913 theater project for J. E. Ferguson.

Among the early theaters in Wenatchee that are not yet listed at Cinema Treasures are the Wenatchee Theatre, opened 1905 and operating at least as late as 1925 (and owned by J. E. Ferguson,) and the Majestic Theatre, mentioned in a 1951 Boxoffice Magazine article as an early movie house in Wenatchee, but not mentioned anywhere else that I’ve been able to find. One or the other of them (or neither of them) might have been in the building at 11 N. Wenatchee.

In any case, there’s still information about theaters in Wenatchee that is missing from Cinema Treasures, and I’ve pretty much exhausted the resources available to me. Maybe someone else can make use of these fragments to track down more details.