Colonial Theater

492 Farmington Avenue,
Hartford, CT 06105

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Colonial Theater skeleton - 2001

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Colonial Theater was once a beautiful, Neo-Classical style treasure in Hartford’s West End. Opened in 1926, by 1941 it was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. The Colonial Theater became a venue for Cinerama from September 20, 1961 playing “This Is Cinerama”. It closed in 1979 after surviving on a diet of Spanish-language, kung fu and blaxploitation films.

After a 20 year silence, preservationists fought a tough battle against developers in 2000 – and lost. Most of the theater has now been demolished and only its skeleton remains.

A new restaurant was built behind the facade of the Colonial Theater and opened in July of 2004.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

nritota on January 11, 2009 at 3:38 pm

If it were that simple. I worked in the business for 20 years and there are problems with that model. Older theatres were likely in cities where parking, and adventuring downtown at night were both dubious. The megaplexes tend to play out todays films so that there is not enough run after they are complete.

Plus, the old buildings are expensive to keep up, with 80 year old roofs, outdated HVAC systems and a lot of space to heat and cool for a minimal return on tickets sold.

Unless there is a grass roots organization to place the house under non-profit status, raise funds and apply for tax breaks, a private owner doesn’t stand much of a chance.

It’s like opening a harware store between a Lowes and Home Depot; nice thought, but not practical in todays climate of business efficiency.

Cinerama on February 16, 2009 at 5:07 am


If your still around, please let us know where we can see pictures of the Colonial when it was a Cinerama theatre. I have pictures before it was a Cinerama and after – Please contact me at



Cinerama on December 15, 2009 at 6:42 am

Hi Chuck,

I would love to see pictures of the Colonial when it was a Cinerama theatre.



Harvey on February 2, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Article on The Colonial as a kung-fu house circa 1983 here.

EdmundGlazer on September 30, 2010 at 3:09 pm

If anyone wants more information on the Colonial/Cinerama theatre, email to I worked as a projectionst at the theatre for 15 years. ED Glazer

nritota on October 16, 2010 at 5:23 pm

When were you there? Was it during the Lockwood & Gordon years or later?

rivest266 on February 22, 2017 at 3:51 am

This opened on September 20th, 1961. Grand opening ad in the photo section

Found on powered by

Cinerama on March 9, 2017 at 9:09 am

I will be updating my web site in the future with ads and articles on the Cinerama aka Colonial theatre.

DavidZornig on June 26, 2017 at 12:41 pm

Mid `60’s photo as Cinerama added courtesy of Theo Tersteeg.

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