Colonial Theater

611 Main Street,
Laconia, NH 03246

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Yet another “Colonial” in NH… but this one is haunted. From the Lake Winnipesaukee Historical Society…

“The Colonial Theater, on Main Street in downtown Laconia operated for 86 years. It was, at the time ‘One of the handsomest play-houses to be found in New England and far ahead of anything which the average city of Laconia can boast’, reported the Laconia Democrat in 1915, when the Colonial opened. It presented movies and vaudeville shows, the world premiere of ‘Return To Peyton Place’ and the music of John Phillip Sousa. Today the theater is once again operating as a movie house.

Interesting fact: The Colonial Theater is said to be haunted. Reported incidents include: footsteps heard and lights go on and off, and doors open and close when no one’s around. Visitors get a strange feeling that they should leave as soon as possible. A figure of a man has been seen".

Contributed by John Elwood

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

ErikH
ErikH on August 13, 2006 at 4:21 am

I located an article on the Laconia Citizen website (article dated June 2, 2006) that discusses the status of the Colonial and the attempts by the owners to sell the shuttered venue. Here’s an excerpt:

“When it opened in 1914, the Colonial was a live-performing center with 1,400 seats. The space was divided 69 years later into four — and eventually, five â€" separate movie screening rooms. The theater, save for one brief period in 2003 when a New Durham couple attempted to operate it as a cinema, has been largely vacant since August 2002 when it last functioned as a combination movie house and pizzeria."

hollister22nh
hollister22nh on October 9, 2006 at 12:28 pm

I drove by yesterday. The marquee says “for sale or lease”

-John

stephenr1
stephenr1 on November 12, 2006 at 8:45 pm

Before this movie theater was divided up into a bunch of theatres it was a beautiful setting not unlike the Crest theatre near where I live now in Sacramento CA.
The backstage of the theatre was still intact with backdrop ropes and ‘original’ lighting equipment. Behind the stage was also the dressing rooms for actors, and at that time was storage for a natural foods store and restaurant located on the side street to the left of the theatre.
I met the owner as a young kid and he offered to train me running the equipment part time (hard to get good help perhaps). I never took him up on it though I did get a tour of the projection room, very cool.

pinkjacket
pinkjacket on April 17, 2007 at 6:39 am

i live in laconia, and the theater is currently a run down building with apartments above. it has been closed for years, and though the city talks or restoring it, nothing is being done. the building sits in the center of town and is basically ignored. from what i understand, the interior is still split up into multiple movie theaters inside.

jgleason
jgleason on September 3, 2007 at 10:14 pm

Does the city own it or is it privately held? I’d like to get some more information on this theatre. Guess a drive up to Laconia is in my future. :)

jgleason
jgleason on November 3, 2007 at 11:45 pm

Just an update for those interested: I’ve been in the theatre twice in the last few weeks and just today got a copy of the original blueprints from the owner. The building is indeed for sale but would require significant work to return it to a live performance space. This should be done and I hope to be the one to do it. If you are interested, contact me through http://www.colonialnh.com

jgleason
jgleason on June 21, 2008 at 7:49 pm

I meant to post this a while ago…I was unable to close a deal with the current owner. As far as I know, it is still for sale or lease. I am still looking for a project, my preference is something that has a decent stage for live performances.

wellrj
wellrj on December 17, 2009 at 1:02 am

This beauty need to start showing first runs again. I’m pretty sure this is what the owner would prefer. Would be a huge boon to the downtown area when downtown’s are the future of brick and mortar consumerism. Leaving a movie or eating establishment and then your first and only site being a drab parking lot just isn’t doing anymore. Bad economy or not, business better get a clue.

ghostwriter56
ghostwriter56 on February 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I wish something could be done to save this grand old theatre. I grew up in Laconia and spent many Saturday afternoons there.

ghostwriter56
ghostwriter56 on February 6, 2010 at 7:35 pm

I wish something could be done to save this grand old theatre. I grew up in Laconia and spent many Saturday afternoons there.

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