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The April 3, 1920, issue of The American Contractor had this item about alterations being made to the Colonial Theatre:
“Theater (colonial, alt. & ext.): $150.000. 203 Bleeker St., Utica, N. Y. Archt. E. C. Horn & Son, 1476 Broadway, N. Y. C. Owner Wilmer & Vincent Theater Co., Walter W. Vincent, pres., 1415 Broadway, N. Y. C. Archt. will take bids on gen. contr. Finishing plans.”
The April 3, 1920, issue of The American Contractor said that the contract had been let for the Liberty Theatre:
“Theater: 1 sty. & balcony. 60x120. Cor. 5th av. & 8th St., New Kensington, Pa. Archt. Harry S. Bair, Vandergrift bldg., Pittsburgh. Owner Liberty Theater Co., New Kensington. Gen. contr. let to T. C. Danner, New Kensington.”
A document prepared for the nomination of the New Kensington Downtown Historic District to the NRHP says that the Ritz Theatre opened in 1922.
Architect J. S. McIntyre’s first name was James. If this house didn’t open until September 11, 1922, there must have been some serious delays during construction. The April 3, 1920, issue of The American Contractor said that McIntyre was then taking bids on the Empire Theatre project in New Bedford.
Articles about the opening of Wilmer & Vincent’s new State Theatre appeared in the April 12, 1926, issue of the Harrisburg Telegraph. One of them noted that the new theater had been designed by E. C. Horn & Sons.
This article from the Sidney Herald of June 2, 2009, at the time the Centre Theatre was sold, tells the history of the house and the Suckstorff family’s 77-year involvement in the theater business in Sidney.
An article about the sale of the Centre Theatre that was published in the June 2, 2009, edition of the Sidney Herald says that the Princess Theatre was opened by Carl Brattin in 1915.
I’ve had to reconsider the location of the Roxy. The article I cited says that the Isis was “down the street” from the Princess, and it turns out that the Princess was on N. Central Avenue, not E. Main Street. That means that the Roxy was probably next door to the south end of the bank building, in a building at 108 S. Central that was occupied by a a barber shop and a payday loan company called Cash Montana at the time the current Google street view was made.
A March 18, 2008, Sidney Herald article about centenarian Dorothy Gall, who as a girl had played piano to accompany silent movies at both the Isis and the Princess Theatres, indicates that the Princess was located on N. Central Avenue, not E. Main Street. The article says that the Princess building is now occupied by Mike Bergh’s Tae Kwon Do studio, next door to Gurney Electric. Gurney Electric is listed at 115 N. Central and the Sidney Tendo Tae Kwon Do Studio is listed at 117 N. Central. The building at 117 has had the lower two thirds of the front refaced with brick, but the upper part has a pediment that looks like it could have belonged to a theater.
A June 12, 2012, feature about the news of 1925 in the Sidney Herald indicated that the opening of the Isis Theatre was one of the events that took place that year.
A March 18, 2008, article about centenarian Dorothy Gall, who as a girl had played piano to accompany silent movies at both the Isis and the Princess Theatres, said that the Isis was next door to the First National Bank, which is now occupied by the Cheerio Lounge. Internet gives the lounge the address 101 E. Main St., so the Isis/Roxy must have been at 103 E. Main, now the location of 2 Blondes, a nail salon.
The March 21, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Herald said that plans for the proposed Dixon Theatre in Dixon, Illinois, had been completed by Chicago architectural firm N. S. Spencer & Son.
An article in the December 9, 1966, issue of the Dixon Evening Telegraph says that William J. McAlpine was the contractor who built the courthouse, the old post office, the Dixon National Bank building and the City National Bank building as well as the Dixon Theatre. Almost all the references to McAlpine I’ve found call him a builder or contractor, not an architect. Those that call him an architect all appear to be citing the Dixon Theatre’s web site.
Dixon’s William J. McAlpine is not to be confused with William Jarvis McAlpine, a noted 19th century civil engineer.
An item datelined Missoula in the January 1, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Herald said (somewhat belatedly) that “[t]he new Rialto
theatre will be open for the holiday season.”
A list of theaters in Reading published in the January 1, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World includes a Penn Theatre on Penn Avenue, West Reading. However, this 1916 house was probably in a different building.
An article in the February 19, 1984, issue of the Reading Eagle telling of the closing of the Majestic Theatre in Mount Penn, which had opened on November 10, 1939, says that “[s]hortly after the Majestic opening, Wilmer and Vincent opened the Penn Theatre in West Reading, in a building that currently serves as a piano showroom.”
The building might have been new construction in 1939, or Wilmer and Vincent could have taken over and remodeled the old Penn Theatre. The back of the building can be seen in Street View, but it is made of common brick painted over so the only real clue as to the possible age is the large size of the bricks, which would argue for the later construction date, the use of large bricks having been rare until the 1930s. It’s possible that the original Penn Theatre was on the same site and was demolished to make way for the new house.
The Penn Theatre closed sometime between October, 1953, when the Eagle reported that the theater’s safe had been robbed by burglars, and 1956, when a news item said that the West Reading Fire Department would hold its annual children’s Christmas party in “…the former Penn Theatre.” The Orth Music Company was advertising its new location in the Penn Theatre Building by May, 1958. It’s likely that the Penn was one of the many neighborhood theaters closed in the mid-1950s due to the high cost of equipping a movie house for wide-screen productions.
A “Looking Back” feature in the June 27, 2013, issue of The Barnstable Patriot cites an item from the June 28, 1923, issue of the paper saying that the new Hyannis Theatre would open that day. The timing indicates that the Hyannis was probably the theater project mentioned in the April 28, 1923, issue of Exhibitors Herald, which said that a 1,000-seat house was being built for Hyannis Theatre, Inc., from plans by Boston architects J. Williams Beal Sons. The same firm later designed the house now known as The Boston University Theatre.
The correct name of the architectural firm that designed this 1925 theater is J. Williams Beal Sons. I don’t believe there ever was a Beal & Sons (the name never appears in trade publications of the period, but only in modern books.) J Williams Beal himself died in 1919, and his sons, who had worked in his office but were not partners in the business, established the firm at that time. I suspect that they incorporated their noted father’s name as they were still fairly
young and had not yet established a reputation of their own.
This house reopened as the Capitol Theatre on March 7, 1923. It had been remodeled and redecorated after having been closed for many years. The architect for the project, Albert A. Schwartz, and the decorator, O. J. Bodelson, wrote an article about the project for the April 7 issue of Exhibitors Herald. There are four photos, and the article mentions a Kimball Organ Co. Unit Orchestra being installed in the renovated house.
CinemaTour lists five theaters in Hamilton: the Roxy and Pharaohplex, plus the Liberty Theatre and a Starlite Drive-In, neither with an address, and a Rio Theatre at 172 S. Second Street. Maybe the Liberty became the Rio. The building at that address now has 1996 on its pediment, though, so the Rio is demolished.
GoRaWa1 is correct. The Survant Theatre is at the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue S. and 6th Street S. As the vintage photo shows, the Roxy was a few doors west of 5th Street S., not on the corner. The Survant Theatre replaced the Roxy when it burned down, but not on the same site.
514 2nd Avenue is an even number, so it would be on the north side of the street. 514 must be the correct address of the Roxy Theatre. The Orpheum was on the opposite side of the street in the same block, and a bit farther west. The Western Drug store is at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 6th Street, and has the address 539 2nd, and I believe that the Orpheum was next door to that building (see the vintage photo on our Roxy page) so would have been at approximately 531-535 2nd Avenue South.
Ah, I can see it now by zooming in. The theater is up the block on the right side of the street, and the neighboring building with the brick front is still standing too. But the map says it’s called called A Street, not 4th Street.
A history of the Grand Theatre written by University of Minnesota student Brooke Helgerson and dated 2011 is available in this PDF file. It says that the theater opened on November 8, 1910. It was designed by J. A. Van Wie and Theodore Hays of the Twin Cities Scenic Co. in Minneapolis.
An item about the project in the May 21, 1910, issue of The Improvement Bulletin referred to the proposed opera house as “practically fireproof.” Practically wasn’t quite enough, though. Helgerson’s history says that the auditorium was gutted by a fire in May, 1914. The Grand reopened in September that year, and in 1917 its operation was taken over by Charles Hiller. Members of the Hiller family would continue to operate the Grand until 2005.
The Grand Theatre has been altered several times over the years, with a concession stand being installed in 1949 and a new marquee in 1954. A second screen was installed in an adjacent space in 1984, leaving the original auditorium intact for the time being. The most drastic alterations came in 2005, when the new owners, Moore Family Theatres, removed the balcony and reconfigured the auditorium for stadium seating. Despite these changes, the theater retains much of its original decoration.
The Liberty Theatre in McKeesport was in operation by 1921, when it was mentioned in the September 10 issue of Exhibitor’s Trade Review.
There were two houses called the Altmeyer Theatre in McKeesport. The first was a 1,600-seat house on Fifth Avenue at Strawberry Street, which was dedicated in December, 1892, and destroyed by a fire in February, 1896.
The second Altmeyer Theatre was on the north side of Fifth Avenue almost opposite the end of Blackberry Street. This was a former saloon which was converted into a theater. By 1908 it was being operated by J. P. Harris. It was listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn guide as a ground floor house with 640 seats in the orchestra, 210 in the balcony, a gallery accommodating 300 and boxes for 50.
In later years the second Altmeyer Theatre was renamed the Harris State Theatre. It was later converted into a department store. This probably happened before 1930. When Warner Brothers took over 17 Harris theaters in the region in 1930, the only McKeesport houses listed as part of the deal were the J. P. Harris Memorial Theatre and a house called the Harris Walnut Street Theatre.
There might have been a 200-seat house called the Star Theatre in McKeesport, but if there was it was definitely not the former Altmeyer Theatre.
A 1920 Worcester City Directory lists the Bijou Theatre at 24 Millbury Street and the Rialto Theatre at 37 Millbury Street (the Rialto’s building occupies multiple lots.)
Whoever wrote the text with those photos must have confused the Alhambra with the Doric Theatre.