Matanzas Theatre

24 Cathedral Place,
St. Augustine, FL 32084

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The Matanzas Theatre was opened late-1938 or early-1939. It was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. It was designed by architect Roy A. Benjamin in a Atmospheric/Spanish style, probably the last Atmospheric style theatre to be built. It was still operating in 1950.

The façade and entrance survive in use as an art gallery, but the auditorium has been demolished.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 7, 2006 at 12:00 am

Here is a photo from the early 1950s:

mikemorano on September 7, 2006 at 12:26 am

Those are cool photos but why do you post links 2 minutes apart. You do it most of the time and waste space. Put them all in one message. Thanx.

kencmcintyre on September 7, 2006 at 1:40 am

The reason is I am surfing the net while I work. Sometimes I don’t see the other picture until a few minutes later. I will try to consolidate in the future.

MDaurora on February 5, 2010 at 3:08 pm

I was looking at the current street view of where this theater was and compared it with the 1950’s photos posted by ken mc back in 06. There are three kids on the little balcony above the marquee in the 1950’s picture. That balcony is still there. It looks like the facade remained and was incorporated into a new building. Could be wrong, but if it is, may there be some of the lobby, greatly altered, at least still there. The address on the current building is 22.

CSWalczak on May 14, 2012 at 12:13 am

A picture shot during the premiere of “Distant Drums” View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 22, 2015 at 7:11 am

Here is an item about the Matanzas Theatre from the July 2, 1938, issue of The Film Daily:

“Sparks Plans 16th Century Atmospheric Pix Theater

“St. Augustine, Fla. — Work has been started on a new 1,200-seat theater here by E. J. Sparks. H. L. Baird, Inc., of Jacksonville, is the general contractor and Roy A. Benjamin, also of Jacksonville, is the architect. The theater will be known as the Mantaza and will represent an investment of $100,000.

“The architecture will be of 16th Century Spanish and all ornamentation maintaining the proper feeling and atmosphere of other buildings in this America’s oldest city. Indirect lighting will be used exclusively.

“It is one of the few places where the Sparks interests have gone into a community, purchased land and erected a building. The usual procedure is for local interests to build a theater and lease it to Sparks.”

1938 was pretty late for a revival-style atmospheric house to be built. I wonder if this could have been the last of them?

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