Barn Theater

1110 Harrison Street,
Frenchtown, NJ 08825

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Barn Theater

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Listed in the 1951 FDY, the theater building resembles a barn and has been divided into retail stores known as The Old Barn Theater Center. Stores include a dance studio, a bead store and an attorney’s office. The buidling is in excellent condition.

The town has renumbered the street, so the current address will not match those in the old FDYs.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

teecee
teecee on August 17, 2005 at 5:01 am

The Barn Theatre was open from the early 1930s through the mid 1980s. There is a nice photo (“Air Conditioned”) on page 83 of Sketches of a River Town (1997) by Ellen Fletcher.

teecee
teecee on August 17, 2005 at 5:04 am

Some of my photos from March 19, 2005:
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dionis
dionis on August 30, 2005 at 2:07 pm

The Barn closed in October 1989. I know cause I went to its last show. Among the last movies shown there were Parenthood, When Harry Met Sally, and The Abyss. IIRC, it was The Abyss that showed on the final weekend.

The theater would have been demolished if not for the efforts of a few. Fortunately, Frenchtown was at that moment undergoing transformation from a working-class mill town to a upscale/trendy/art & antique village. Hence there was enough of a market to turn the old theater into professional offices.

The architeture was quirky, the seats comfortable. However, the sound system was poor….if you sat up in the front to the extreme left or right you’d get an echo off the back wall.

Sorry it closed….have good memories of a couple of fumbling teenage erotic experiences in that old place.

teecee
teecee on March 2, 2006 at 4:08 am

Listed as a Brandt Theater in the 1976 International Motion Picture Almanac.

teecee
teecee on January 20, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Another old postcard:
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teecee
teecee on July 12, 2011 at 8:21 pm

A bit of quirky information from nj.com 7/11/11:

FRENCHTOWN — In 1939 when the Barn Theater was being built, well-diggers struck water that flowed voluntarily to the surface and continues flowing to this day. For the next 50 years, the excess water came out of a metal pipe where it could be drunk or jugged by anyone who wanted it before it spilled into a ditch beside upper Twelfth Street.

The water was used to air condition the theater — until it showed its last movie in 1989 (“When Harry Met Sally”). Then an entrepreneur, who was trying in vain to get borough approval to turn the empty theater into a Country & Western dance hall, set up a coin-operated apparatus near the roadside to sell the water……..

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