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The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists the Orpheum Theatre at 77 Stephenson Street. Meanwhile, the August 2, 1913 issue of The Moving Picture World had this item:
“Carl Eademacher, owner of the Orpheum Theater at Freeport, has opened a new airdome on Chicago street, in that city. The place has a capacity of 1,000, and secures an admission of ten cents for two acts of vaudeville and three reels of pictures. The plan of operating in conjunction with the theater, which has been so popular in Illinois, will be followed, and in case of rain the performances are being held in the Orpheum.”
I believe addresses have changed in Freeport at some point, perhaps more than once. Not only are theaters in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory listed at addresses that do not now exist, but an item in a “Fifty Years Ago” column of the July 21, 1964, issue of the Freeport Journal-Standard, telling of the construction of the Alhambra Theatre, gives its address as 110 Stephenson.
The vintage photo uploaded by elmorovivo shows the Strand on the south side of what is now the two-digit block of West Stephenson, a couple of doors east of Van Buren Avenue. The old courthouse in the next block has been replaced by a modern building, but the Civil War Memorial in front of it is still there, as is a church steeple seen farther west on the north side of Stephenson in both the vintage photo and Google’s street view.
It will probably take quite a bit of puzzling to discover the actual modern addresses of Freeport’s old theaters, and some old photos of their historic surroundings. In the meantime, it looks quite likely that the old Alhambra/Strand building is still standing, but given the angle of the vintage photo it’s impossible to tell which of the old buildings it was in. My best guess would be either the store occupied by Celia’s Gifts, Antiques and Home, 25 W. Stephenson, or Chubby Belly Buffet, 23 W. Stephenson. Still, it could have been another door or two east.
The Lyric Theatre was one of five movie theaters listed at Freeport in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory.
The caption on the vintage postcard got the location wrong. The view is east along West Main Street, from the 200 block. The building with the Empire Theatre sign has been demolished, as has its four-story neighbor at the corner of Galena Avenue.
I’ve set Google street view to the correct location. A business in a surviving building next door to the Empire’s site uses the address 213 W. Main, so I would estimate the Empire’s address as either 209 or 211 W. Main.
The original architect of the Winona Opera House was Oscar Cobb. This notice appeared in the “Synopsis of Building News” section of the April, 1892 issue of The Inland Architect and News Record:
“Architect Oscar Cobb: For A. B. Yeomans and H. Choate, at Winona, Minnesota, a three-story theater, 75 by 120; to cost $50,000; pressed brick and stone, tin roof, electric light, steam heat, etc.; the seating capacity will be 1,200.”
This PDF of the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Site Inventory Form for the Palace Theatre has one photo of the building’s original front, though it is from an oblique angle. The form also reveals that the reopening following the 1948 remodel took place on September 2. The Palace closed in early December, 1995.
The letting of the general contract for the house that would open as the United Arlington Theatre was announced in the May 31, 1913 issue of Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer. Frank L. Stiff was the architect for the $15,000 project.
Although the item in Moving Picture World reveals that the St. Andrews Theatre was in operation in July, 1916, the house is not listed in the 1915, 1916, 1917, or 1918 city directories (I haven’t checked later directories yet.) But maybe the place was in operation before 1916, maybe even as early as 1914, and just wasn’t getting listed for some reason.
I’ve stumbled upon an item from Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer of November 22, 1913, saying that architect Frank L. Stiff had drawn plans for a one-story brick theater and store building, 40x130 feet, to be built for F. E. Bundy on Jefferson near St. Andrews Place. That makes a 1914 opening for the theater possible, even though it is not listed in the city directories for quite a few years after that.
The Alvarado Theatre probably opened in 1914 around the time the Times published the drawing Ron Pierce found. This item appeared in Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer of November 8, 1913:
“Brick Theater, Stores and Apartment Building, 6 rms, 50x148 ft, comp roof; 708-12 S Alvarado St, J L Murphey, own. Story Bldg; John C Austin and W C Pennell archts; Boman, Klarquist Co, bldr, Union League Bldg; $19,000.”
The March 11, 1940 obituary of Lowell architect Harry Prescott Graves in The Lowell Sun mentioned the Merrimack Square Theatre as one of his works. An announcement about the new theater then nearing completion at 146 Paige Street appeared in the August 18, 1910 Sun, but it called the house the Scenic Theatre. It was under lease to Jennings and Bradstreet, Boston-based operators of a chain of New England movie theaters. This article also noted Graves as the architect.
The Scenic Theatre opened on August 20, 1910, but the name did not last long. The name Merrimack Square Theatre was appearing in the paper by October 8. The management of the house apparently remained the same, however, as this notice appeared in the March 25, 1911, issue of The Nickelodeon:
“The Merrimack Square Theater Company of Boston has been incorporated with a capital stock of $50,000. The incorporators are William D. Bradstreet, William D. Bradstreet, Jr., C. Edwin Jennings and Frederick E. Jennings.
The March 11, 1940 obituary of Lowell architect Harry Prescott Graves in The Lowell Sun mentioned both the Strand and the Merrimack Square theatres as being among his works. It’s possible that Graves acted only as supervising architect for Funk & Wilcox, or he might have been a collaborator on the design. So far I’ve found no other references about Graves' involvement in the project.
Although it said that the building was to be only two stories, this notice from the June 3, 1916, issue of The American Contractor was probably about the Crown Theatre:
“Lowell, Mass. — Moving Picture Theater: $25,000. 2 sty. 44x97. Archt. Harry Prescott Graves, 18 Shattuck st. Owners Crown Theater Co., Sam'l Orback, pres., care Owl Theater, Central st., taking bids.”
The aka Star Theatre needs to be added to the “Previous Names” field.
Both the January 24, 1900, and the October 8, 1900 issues of The Lowell Sun carried notices of the opening of the new Gaiety (not Gaity) Theatre. I don’t know if the theater moved to a new location in October or perhaps just reopened at the same location under new management.
The April 13, 1901 issue of the Sun said that the Boston Theatre, formerly the Gaiety, would open on April 18. The Star Theatre, on Merrimack Street opposite City Hall, was being mentioned in The Lowell Sun by April, 1908. The new Premier Theatre, opposite City Hall, was mentioned in the October 10, 1912, Sun. The Tuesday, February 9, 1915 Sun> said that Wolf’s Theatre, which had been “entirely remodeled,” would open Wednesday evening.
Lowell did have a house called the Bijou Theatre, opened in 1892 and, according to a January 2, 1974, article in The Lowell Sun, it was located “…at Cardinal O'Connell Parkway….” That street, only two blocks long, intersects Merrimack at the end of the 300 block, just where the Gaiety would have been, so we should consider the possibility that the new Gaiety of 1900 was indeed just a new name for the old Bijou. However, I have not found any references to confirm this surmise.
Hennesy & Bunker’s Funnyland Theatre was mentioned in The Billboard of November 2, 1907, but no address was given. Theatre La Scala was advertised in the December 31, 1908 issue of The Lowell Sun, along with four other theaters. The December 4 issue of the paper had advertised the Funnyland Theatre, so the name change took place that month.
La Scala Theatre, managed by Hennesy & Bunker, was mentioned in the “Motion Picture Notes” section of The New York Dramatic Mirror of September 18, 1909. Hennesy & Bunker were also mentioned as managers of Theatre Voyons in the same column.
The house was styled Theatre La Scala again in a 1912 book about Lowell, as it had been in various issues of The Lowell Sun in 1909. La Sala [sic] Theatre was listed at 245 Central in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory, but the altered name was most likely just a typo.
Indeed it looks like the whole block has been replaced except for the four-story brick building at the corner of Stanton Avenue. The new project looks like one big building in satellite view, though the facade treatment attempts to make it appear from the street to be several narrower buildings.
Flickr member Darren Snow posted this photo of the Sosna State Theatre taken in 1997, shortly after the house closed. The caption says the panels on the facade were Vitrolite, which was a pigmented glass tile, sometimes generically called vitreous marble.
The Vitrolite brand was introduced in 1908 by the Vitrolite Company, and was later made by Libby-Owens-Ford from 1935 to 1947. Popular during both the Art Deco and Streamline Modern periods, Vitrolite and its chief competitor, Carrara Glass, are once again hot items, with vintage tiles being quickly snatched up for use in architectural restorations and by collectors.
Pepperama is correct. The first Gane’s Manhattan Theatre, operating from 1907 to 1909, was the former Standard Theatre, located on 6th Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Streets. It was demolished in 1909 to make way for Gimbel’s Department Store, which is now occupied in part by a branch of J.C. Penney’s.
The second Gane’s, of which we have four photos on our photo page, must have been on the southwest corner of Broadway and 31st, and was in operation by 1910. Note in the vintage photo uploaded by CharmaineZoe the angle at which the pedestrians on Broadway are crossing the side street. The theater was clearly on an obtuse corner.
The three most distant of the four buildings to the right of the theater in the photo are still standing on West 31st Street, though the nearest has had its top floor lopped off. The fourth of the group, the one adjacent to the theater building itself, is gone.
The L.A. County assessor’s office says that the building at the southeast corner of Pico and Fedora Street was originally built in 1905, and rebuilt in 1918 (apparently a rear extension.) The Pico Heights Theatre is listed at 2698 W. Pico in the 1911 city directory, which is the earliest edition featuring a listing for the category Moving Picture Theatres. Many later directories list the theater’s address as 2696 W. Pico.
The 1906 through 1908 directories list 2596 W. Pico as the location of the Pico Heights Realty Company. I can’t find anything listed at either 2696 or 2698 in 1909 or 1910, and the Pico Heights Realty Company is not listed after 1908.
The 1909 and 1910 directories have a category called “Moving Pictures and Machines” under which movie theaters are listed, but almost all those listed were downtown, though there must have been a great any neighborhood theaters in operation by that time. Sixteen are listed in the 1911 directory, including the Pico Heights. I think it’s possible that the theater was in operation as early as 1909 or even late 1908, but simply didn’t get listed in the directories.
The Picture Theatre, Roberts & Goodrich proprietors, was listed at 545 S. Main Street in the 1907 Los Angeles city directory.
A comment made by kencmcintyre back in 2009 says that the architects of the World Theatre were Roth & Fleisher. Gabriel Blum Roth and Elizabeth R. Hirsh Fleisher established their firm in 1941. Hirsh Fleisher was one of the first women licensed to practice architecture in Pennsylvania, and the first to establish a practice in Philadelphia.
Ah, there we go.
Well, crap, the link doesn’t work. Google can’t find the map it just showed me! Maybe Google is eating the peyote.
Let’s try this one.
Google Maps is currently putting the pin icon and street view for this theater in the wrong place (again!) But this time there is something very weird about the address itself. This accurate view at Google Maps displays the peculiar address 240 West E. Roper Rd., which suggests that whoever was responsible for assigning addresses in Nogales might have been eating the peyote.
I did not know Mr. Perkins, and merely found a few references to him on the Internet. I always lived in California myself, but I’ve never been directly connected with the movie industry.
Jack Coursey’s link is dead, but I did find this page with photos and some drawings and floor plans of the gutted and drastically rebuilt house. Plans for the rebuild were made by the firm Manuelle Gautrand Architecture.