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More information here and here:
Everyone surprisingly blase about having an opera house sitting above the public library. It’s apparently still at least partially intact.
Pretty sure I remember this theatre being open at least into the early ‘70s.
Bull’s eye. The little triangle area in the aerial photo with the spot inside it corresponds exactly to my mid ‘70s memory of there being a marquee sign there, and looking at googlemaps it also corresponds exactly to where Wendy’s (1251 Upper Front Street) is. I remember they put the Wendy’s sign right where the old marquee sign had been.
Looks like the drive-in itself is now Wolfe Park. Interesting! Worth a visit sometime.
Correction to the above: 23 EAST Main Street, not West. And looking at it again from a different angle on google maps, I’m pretty sure this was the extensively remodeled building I was told once housed the theatre.
I did a lot of research on central New York theatres in the late ‘70s. I was a kid then, so I can’t vouch for this information, but I will tell you what I remember about this theatre:
I was told then that the theatre building was still standing, but had been “gutted” and completely remodeled so that it had little resemblance to its former self. I had the building pointed out to me. I don’t remember my source but one of the people I was talking to at the time had worked for the Smalley chain in a management capacity, so that might have been the person.
Looking at google maps, the building that most closely reflects that recollection is the one housing Preferred Mutual at 23 West Main Street, which has been further remodeled since that time (though it didn’t look much like a theatre then, either).
I did find an article in the Evening Sun (with photos) about the remodeling/partial demolition of the building, that did seem to back up the source’s contention. If I recall correctly, this took place in 1957.
A/B'ing the google maps photo to the one in the Boxoffice article above, the two do match to some degree, assuming a top half-floor was added to the front awning. Both buildings are segmented in thirds in the front and the dimenstions (minus the top half-floor seem about the same). The building is deep enough to have been a theatre building.
As per my post above, IIRC my research in the late ‘70s, using business directories at the Broome Library, showed the Ritz in operation from 1910 on.
I should have added, in answer to the above question, that the theatre is above the library, on the 2nd and 3rd floors. The website below indicates that the Town Hall Theatre, as it has been called since its last reopening, is again being renovated in preparation for its 100th anniversary in 2010.
I believe a little bit of the facade of this theatre is still left, clinging to the wall of the Music Workshop.
This theatre was reopened around 1980 for live stage performances; my mother performed “The Madwoman of Chaillot” there in 1982. I do not know if it’s still in operation or not, but it was the last I knew.
This theatre is unusual in my experience in that it is/was wider than it is long.
There is a building in Marathon that has “Library Theatre” inscribed on it. The building appears to be pretty old.
I remember seeing this abandoned movie house in the ‘70s and was always intrigued by the spooky and unusual architecture. An old postcard I found from the 1890s revealed the reason: it apparently was originally a church, and then remodeled to be an opera house. I’m surprised it was still going as late as 1970; it looked long abandoned by the late '70s.
I was also unable to find any photos of this theatre, or any locals who actually remembered it.
I did a lot of research on movie theatres in Binghamton back in the ‘70s, mostly looking through old business directories. I recall that the history of the Lyric was the most mysterious of almost any of them. As you say, it was active for many years, but there were quite a few gaps in the record; it would be listed in business directories for several years, and then not for a few years, then again for several years. I don’t recall the actual span of time but I remember it started very early on. Moreover, the street address listed in the business directories changed a few times (above and beyond the renumbering that took place at some point), which was weird.
I think the entrance was actually where Wendy’s is now. The reason I say this is that in the ‘70s, just before they built Wendy’s, there was still a triangular entry marquee sign next to the road. It was not lettered, so it could have been for something else, but it looked like a drive-in entrance sign. When they built the Wendy’s the sign was removed.
According to my research in the late ‘70s, the Art Theatre originally opened (under another name I believe) in 1911.
The theatre did NOT close in 1973, contrary to all reports on the ‘net. It closed in 1978. I myself attended movies there in '78 and '76 (my entire class went there for a bicentennial showing of the previously-released film “1976.”) and remember it closing. It was a magnificent theatre, already well in decline but something to behold.
I did extensive research on theatres in Binghamton in the late ‘70s; the Ritz opened in 1910, not the '20s. At the time it closed it was the oldest operating theatre in town (although very few people were aware of this). The last time I was in it (1989) there was a leak in the roof and a visible stain on the ceiling from it.