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This web page attributes the design of the Martin Theatre in Opelika to the firm of Biggers & Associates. James J. W. Biggers was practicing at least as late as 1949.
A history of movie exhibition in Auburn from 1894 to 1928, written as a thesis by Auburn University student Danielle E. Williams, has information about the early years of the Tiger Theatre (PDF here.)
The Tiger Theatre was opened by F. A. Rogers on September 6, 1926. It was the first regular movie theater in Auburn, though movies had been shown in the college auditorium at lest twice a week (Friday and Saturday nights) under the auspices of the local YMCA since 1912.
The College Picture Show, as the YMCA program was called, continued to operate for two years after the Tiger Theatre opened, finally suspending operations in September, 1928.
A June 16, 1907, New York Times article mentions “…the Pier Theatre, at the foot of Vernon [sic] Avenue….” Another bit of complication. Was the 1907 Times article right about the location, or was the 1904 advertisement Lost Memory cited right?
But at least we have the approximate location, which was probably on the short block between Beach 66th and Beach 67th.
Although the County Tax Assessor says that the building the De Luxe Theatre was in dates from 1910, no theater is listed at 656 S. Alvarado Street in the 1911 city directory. In fact, in 1911 there are no listings for 650, 552, or 656 S. Alvarado, and 654 is listed as the home of Jennie M. Emory. This makes me suspect that the building is not quite as old as the Assessor’s office believes it to be.
I now suspect that the Theatre De Luxe was located in the proposed building described in this item from the September 27, 1913, issue of The American Contractor:
“Store & Moving Picture Theater: 1 sty. 80x130, $30,000. Alvarado, nr. Orange st. Archt. A. Lawrence Valk, 933 Union Oil bldg. Owner Henry Laub, 108 S. Broadway. Architect is taking bids.”
The 1909 city directory reveals an even earlier aka for the Orchestrion/Crown Theatre. That year, 527 S. Spring was the location of the Odeon Theatre.
In the 1911 city directory, 527 S. Spring Street is listed as the address of the Crown Theater. No theater is listed at this address in the 1915 directory.
Thanks, psefton. Changing the search terms to Maurice R. Rhoads brings up several results.
Also, there’s a typo in the first paragraph of my previous comment. I said that much of Chambersburg was destroyed by a fire in 1964. It should read 1864. Here is the story.
The caption of the second photo in this slide show at Rockaway Memories says that Gaston Avenue became Beach 67th Street. The caption of the fourth photo says that the renaming had taken place by 1920. The site of the Arverne Pier Theatre must have been very close to that of the Boardwalk Theatre.
Three articles by Lawrence Herzog mention the Rialto Theatre. The links to them on this web page are headed “Rialto Theatre – 10134 101 Street (opened as the New Bijou)” That’s the only mention of the New Bijou I can find, though Herzog mentions a house called the Bijou Theatre, in operation by 1910 at 10166 100 Street. Presumably the New Bijou at 10134 101 Street was its replacement, but Herzog doesn’t give the opening year for it.
Lawrence Herzog’s brief article on the Varscona Theatre (the last listing on this web page) says that it was opened on July 6, 1940, and was designed by the architectural firm of Rule, Wynn, & Rule (John Rule, Gordon Wynn, and Peter Rule) in a Streamline Modern style. The Varscona Theatre was demolished in 1987.
The 1912 remodeling project designed by architect Walter J. Saunders is mentioned in several issues of Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer. An entirely new stage house, measuring 43 x 74 feet, was built. Early reports mention the stage house and the rebuilding of the balcony in reinforced concrete, at an estimated total cost of $30,000, but the announcement of the letting of the contract, in the issue of July 13, 1912, mentions only the stage house and gives the cost as $16,800. It’s possible the balcony rebuilding was abandoned, but the seating capacity would still have increased when the original stage space was incorporated into the auditorium.
Though it gives the address of the proposed theater as 211 Wyoming Avenue, this item from The American Contractor of May 14, 1921, is probably about the State Theatre:
“Theater (M. P.): Abt. $75,000. 2 sty. 40x156. 211 Wyoming av., Scranton, Pa. Archt. Leon Lempert & Son, Cutler bldg., Rochester, N. Y. Owner Comerford Amusement Co.. M. E. Comerford, Regent Theater. Scranton. Gen. contr. let to Breig Bros., Scranton.”
According to an item in The Film Daily of May 13, 1936, the Arverne Theatre then had considerably more than 300 seats:
“Adds Arverne Theater
“Stanley E. Glauber has added the Arverne Theater, Arverne, L. I., to his circuit. House seats 1,100.”
“Stanley E. Glauber has added the Arverne Theater, Arverne, L. I., to his circuit. House seats 1,100.”
I suspect that a careless typesetter added either an extra 2 at the beginning or 0 at the end of the figure for the cost of the Arvern’s sound system.
In 1927, according to a footnote in Kyle Dawson Edwards' Corporate Fictions: Film Adaptation and Authorship in the Classical Hollywood Era, it could cost as much as $25,000 to install a Western Electric sound system in a big theater. However, the price declined rapidly, and by 1929, as noted in Aubrey Solomon’s The Fox Film Corporation, 1915-1935, Western Electric had developed a less expensive system for smaller theaters, priced from $5,500 to $7,000.
In 1930, with the economy in steep decline, it was probably possible for the operator of the Arverne to have one of those systems installed for a fraction of that price. Prices would have declined even without the depression, and with Western Electric eager to keep skilled staff employed while the company weathered what they still expected to be a brief economic storm, they were probably willing to do some pretty deep discounting.
The Arverne Pier Theatre did show movies for a while. It was mentioned in The Moving Picture World of July 5, 1913, as one of several houses in which Al Lowe had installed Kinemacolor equipment.
The modern address of the lot the Jewel Theatre was on is 1220 Pacific Avenue. The current building is occupied by Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub & Restaurant. The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, by John Chase, says that the Jewel Theatre operated from 1908 to 1920 on the ground floor of a three story building that housed the Masonic Lodge on the upper floors.
A 1979 book called The Sidewalk Companion to Santa Cruz Architecture, by John Chase, has the answer. The text of the results of a Google Books search (only a snippet view of the book itself is shown) says of the Masonic Temple Building that “[f]rom 1908 to 1920 the bottom floor housed the Jewel movie theater.” As the Grand was in operation in 1910 and 1911, if 161 Pacific was occupied by the Jewel at that time, The Grand had to have been in the building at 280 Pacific.
Edward Prince mentions in his diary that he attended the Grand on September 15, 1910, and the Jewel on September 29 the same year, and then the Grand again on January 7, 1911.
161 Pacific was the address of the Jewel Theatre, listed in the 1916 and 1918 directories. Perhaps the Jewel was originally the Grand, and the name was changed and the Grand moved to 280 Pacific. The Grand in the photo must be the one at 280 Pacific, though, as it had no second and third floors for the Masonic Temple to occupy.
The other explanation would be that the theater at 161 Pacific was never the Grand, but always the Jewel, and the author of the photo’s caption conflated the two theaters.
The text with the photo CSWalczak linked to in the first comment on this house said that the Grand Theatre was on Pacific Avenue opposite the end of Walnut Avenue, but that conflicts with the address of the Grand in the 1918 city directory, which was 280 Pacific. If the Grand was on the east side of Pacific at Walnut, it would have had an odd number and it would have been in the 100 block, like the Jewel and Princess Theatres, which were both on that block.
Even numbers were on the west side of Pacific under the old system, and 280 would have been some distance south of Lincoln Street. The Unique Theatre was at 199-205 Pacific, just south of Soquel opposite the end of Lincoln Street. I’m not sure just how far south the Grand would have been. It would depend on whether or not the 200 block ended at Cathcart Street or continued south to Elm Street.
However, as I noted in my previous comment, it’s possible that there were two houses called the Grand Theatre in Santa Cruz at different times. If that was the case, then the one in the photo, which was dated circa 1915, must have been the first, and the description of its location would then probably have been accurate.
The historic address of the Jewel Theatre was 161 Pacific Avenue. A bit farther up Pacific, at 145, was another movie house called the Princess Theatre. Both were listed in the 1916 and 1918 directories, but no longer listed in the 1921 directory. The lots that once had those numbers should appear on Sanborn maps from the period.
If this theater was called the Unique in 1905, and was the same house as Swain’s Theatre, which was listed in the 1908 Henry Guide, then it must have been called the Unique both before and after being called Swain’s.
The Cameo Theatre is first listed in the 1928 edition of the Film Daily Yearbook, but with no seating capacity given. However, the Cameo is mentioned in the Santa Cruz Evening News of December 15, 1925, which said the new house was to open that night. The Cameo boasted something called an Orthophonic Victrola, a Leatherby electric piano, and a soundproof cry room where parents could take squalling children and still watch the show. I think this is the earliest instance of a cry room I’ve yet come across.
I just checked the Santa Cruz directories again, and the Grand is not listed in the 1916 edition. In 1918 it is listed at 280 Pacific Avenue, but in 1916 that address was the address of James Morgan’s hat works. Was the Grand Theatre that Edward Prince attended in 1910 and 1911 in the same location as the one listed in the 1918 directory, or was that a different house?
Also, in the 1921 directory 280 Pacific is the office of real estate agent G. L. Watkins, so the Grand had gone again by then. I’ve checked the FDY’s from the late 1920s (1925 through 1929), as mentioned in our description of the theater, but I don’t find the Grand listed an any of them. Maybe it never reopened after closing sometime between 1918 and 1921. Only the Unique and New Santa Cruz are listed until 1928, when the Cameo makes its first appearance.
Edward E. Prince, who lived in Santa Cruz from June 21, 1910, to December 16, 1911, mentioned attending local theaters in his diary. He attended both the Unique and the Jewel Theatres on September 24, 1910, and saw the Jeffries-Johnson fight pictures at the Unique on November 5 that same year. He didn’t mention the Unique in his 1911 diary.
Edward E. Prince, who lived in Santa Cruz from June 21, 1910, to December 16, 1911, kept a diary in which he mentions attending theaters in Santa Cruz. He mentions the Jewel Theatre by name on September 24, 1910. He also saw the movies at the Unique Theatre the same day.