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Bigger question: Why does the Senator’s interior, bearing little resemblance to its original appointments, listed on, and protected by Baltimore’s Historic Landmark register while the Parkway Theatre’s interior goes begging? The Parkway has much more original detail, albeit it in deplorable, but eminently restorable condition. Neither of the two development teams currently being evaluated to “restore” the Parkway are giving much indication that they plan to return the interior to its original, or even 1926 configuration. The Parkway desperately needs this additional layer of protection and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get it. See http://www.parkwaytheatre.com
This message is for Joe Vogel & Chuck 1231: Guys, both of you have made some interesting comments here and I am presently working on an article about the Parkway for publication. I would like to use, with your permission, some of the detail you presented, but I would also need to know some of your source material. Since Cinema Treasures seems to have no way for members to contact other members (at least no way I have been able to discover) I would appreciate your contacting me at
PorcelainDoll, I’m curious as to how you managed to gain access to the Parkway to obtain the photos you recently posted. (Also the Mayfair.)
Lest anyone get the unrealistic impression from Mr. Gray’s above comment, the referenced Sun story indicates the “$1 billion” estimate is for the entire “Charles North Vision Plan” project, not just for the Parkway and its two adjacent buildings, not that I would have a problem with that kind of expenditure for them.
Speaking of photos, I have been watching this site announcement ever since I became a member in Oct. 2003:
“Add Photo is offline
Due to the enormous number of photo submissions we’ve received at Cinema Treasures (over 3500 photos!), it has become necessary for us to completely overhaul our photo submission system.
“As a result, this feature is offline until we develop a more scalable system. If you have photos to submit to Cinema Treasures, please be patient. This feature will eventually return.
“The new systemâ€"which will offer expanded photo galleries, more browsing options, and other improvementsâ€” is worth the wait, but given the size of this website, we must develop this feature carefully.
“(Please do not email us asking when this feature will return. Whenever we have news about this feature, we’ll post it here first.)”
How long does this take? Really?
Not only possible, probable. They never come out without leaving SOME evidence of having been there. I could find none.
Sorry, Having trouble with the html, try THIS.
I found the Ambassador pics I took during my “tour” in 2005. All but one of them are of the exterior and show it pretty much as it is now. The one interior shot can be found HERE and shows the stage-left “organ”/HVAC grille from the best vantage point I could access, standing on a precarious support and shooting through a tile removed from the dropped grid ceiling at that point. Even with flash on the camera, the wretched lighting made for no other usable pictures. The grille is very “deco” as can be seen.
Actually, theatre organs being one of my loves, my main interest in going thru the building at the time was to determine if an organ had ever been installed. None of the standard references listed one and from my inspection I can say pretty definitively that they are correct. But it is also my judgment that one COULD have been installed if a suitable restoration of the building was ever undertaken.
When I went thru the building when it was being marketed about three years ago, about the only original detail remaining was portions of the “grills” where, if one had ever been installed, the organ chambers would have been. In this instance, it looked like these areas had always been used as air-handling feeds or returns. The rest of the space was abysmal, the balcony had been enclosed and hap-hazardly converted to office space. Mold was rampant and the building reeked of dampness. I’ll link to some pictures if I can locate them.
Wow, does THAT look like a can of worms. If you follow the â€œDetailsâ€ link in the previous post you will see the â€œMaryland Residential Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statementâ€ filed last year by the owner. To begin with, why this property is being characterized as a â€œResidenceâ€ when the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation clearly has it listed as â€œCommercialâ€ [url]http://sdatcert3.resiusa.org/rp_rewrite/details.aspx?County=03&SearchType=STREET&AccountNumber=28%20%2002%20%208252%20%20%20003[/url] is a mystery. That link also shows that the property was purchased in 2006 for $300,000. The current listing price is $475,000.
In the Property Disclosure and Disclaimer Statement several salient questions seem to have been “skipped” altogether, e.g., Question #4 “Other Structural Systems, Including Exterior Walls and Floors: Any defects (structural or otherwise)? The available answers are Yes, No or Unknown. The Owner has made no entry. The same holds true for three other germaine questions.
Further, the City Permit and Code Enforcement web page shows that the only Building Permit issued for the property since 2002 is one which expired in August, 2006, taken out for the purpose of â€œcleaning up trash left by the previous owner. If there is active demolition currently taking place (as indicated in the listing), it is being done without City Permit and probably without its knowledge, so enter at your own risk indeed!
Well, unless we can learn at least some detail of an emminent situation, there’s not much I, nor anyone can do. Are you at liberty to reveal any of those details or intercede with the owner/propietor to do so?
Jack, is there some current news regarding the City’s intentions? The last I heard there was a study effort underway to produce a development plan for the area which includes the Parkway, but I have heard nothing suggesting anyone is considering demolition as opposed to restoration. Do you know something different?
One of the best web sites I can think of for this is http://www.bigscreenbiz.com Good luck!
Mr. Chowning, I would welcome the opportunity to speak with you personally and privately sometime. Kindly leave me a message at
Historic landmark goes up in flames
2/19/2005 3:35 PM
By: Ken Derksen & Web Staff
(GOLDSBORO)— A historic landmark in Goldsboro went up in flames early Saturday morning. The paramount theatre located on Center Street in downtown caught fire around 3:45 AM.
Dozens of firefighters spent hours battling the blaze. The building that housed the Paramount was more than a century old and in recent years used as a performing arts center.
Diane Lancaster watched her childhood memories go up in smoke Saturday morning. She said, “I used to go there when I was a little teeny girl. I used to love to watch cartoons.”
When firefighters arrived at the historic Paramount Theatre, flames were shooting thirty feet in the air. Tonya Gill was with her mother at an apartment across the street when she heard fire trucks pulling up. Gill said, “We came down stairs and we seen the smoke and everything. And all of a sudden, the flames just shot up into the sky. Then we saw it collapse.”
The building housing the Paramount was constructed in 1882 with the actual theatre opening in the 1920’s as a 900 seat movie house. In more recent years the theatre was used mainly as a performing arts center.
Gill added, “I was going to take my son to see Peter Pan next week. Because neither one of us had been in there. But I’ve always heard my grandmother telling stories.”
Firefighters spent hours battling the blaze, trying to keep it from spreading to nearby buildings. For some business owners, they’re grateful their hard work wasn’t in vain.
Monika Barkley’s business, Phoenix Construction, has sat next to the Paramount for the past five years. She says when she first heard about the fire, she feared her own livelihood would go up in flames. She said, “That’s my biggest concerns right now, is the financial records and my files and everything.” Fortunately, flames were kept mostly to the theatre, nearby buildings just sustained smoke and water damage. Firefighters say only one other building, a backstage entrance to the theater, caught fire.
For fire crews the toughest challenge was the buildings age. Goldsboro Fire Chief, Bobby Greenfield said, “Since the fire broke through the roof, there wasn’t much to go inside to save. The way the building’s constructed, it was very difficult for firefighters to extinguish the fire, particularly on the third floor.”
Lancaster said she’ll miss the theatre, but is grateful for the countless number of lives it touched by the arts within. No one was hurt in the fire. The cause is under investigation. The theatre was a total loss. Firefighters estimate the damage could be up to a million dollars.
Copyright C 2005 TWEAN d.b.a. News 14 Carolina
Does anyone have the current status on this theatre?
Hi Gotham. May I suggest you have a look at www.parkwaytheatre.com
Welcome to Cinema Treasures. -RD
This was/is most likely the c.1870 Auditorium Theatre, known since 1940 as the Mayfair Theatre. Still standing but in retched condition. Following info courtesy of Dan Gibbs: (See also /theaters/1879/
This bizarre building was one of the minor downtown palaces. The original structure opened in the 1870’s as a giant indoor swimming pool (!), was remodeled as a live theatre in the 1890’s. The current structure dates to 1903. This theatre (then called the Auditorium Theatre) was operated by Capt. James Kernan, CSA, in conjunction with the Maryland Theatre around the corner. (The Maryland was torn down in 1953; its great chandelier currently graces one of the lobbies — I think the Senate lobby — in the U.S. Capitol building.) The Auditorium was primarily a live theatre with some forays into movies, but became a film house for good in 1940, when its name was changed to Mayfair. It got a thorough remodeling at the time. It closed in 1980 and, thanks to a very bad landlord — the City of Baltimore — it is basically destroyed. It was all but ignored for the last twenty years and in early 2000 its roof collapsed. It’s still standing, but no telling how much longer.
Ditto Victoria’s inquiry. Howie, your email link is broken, please provide a new one.
Being an engineer, I would have suggested an entirely different approach to the problem of supporting the lighting trestle. But then, they didn’t ask me.
A minor correction to above posts: The term “Footplayer” is a misnomer, perhaps confused with “foot pumper”, a generic term associated with foot-pumped player pianos. The multi-instrumented devices produced by the American Photo Player Company, used to provide musical accompaniment in smaller theatres were called “Fotoplayers” (a trademarked term by APPC.) More information about these amazing gadgets is available in Q. David Bowers' “Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments”, Vestal Press, 1972, ISBN 0-911572-08-2. Google also produced over 1000 hits for “Fotoplayer”
Not to belabor this point, but I just discovered comments by principle restoration architect Hugh Hardy at http://www.france-merrickpac.com/news/news8.htm which say in part, “New elements have been subtlety introduced to meet contemporary needs. Architectural lighting levels have been increased. Sophisticated, twenty-first-century technology invisibly supports production lighting and sound systems.”
Invisible, I suppose, if one is blind. Someone please tell me if these visual defects are to remain as currently manifest?
I also applaud Hayles & Howe’s fine workmanship in this endeavor. Let me make clear that I do not ascribe any of the above noted shortcomings to H&H; I’m quite sure the decisions that lead to the conditions about which I wrote above, were taken at other levels and that H&H did what they were told or contracted to do with respect to those decisions.
I erred in noting that WurliTzer Opus #1419 was installed in the 125th Street Apollo theatre. It was actually installed in a different Apollo theatre at 126 Clinton Street, NYC. There is likewise no information on the status of this theatre that I can find.