Park Theatre

1760 East Main Street,
Waterbury, CT

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anexwaterburian on February 28, 2010 at 11:00 am

“The building in these 1986 photos look a lot like this theater.”

It is the same theater. Those photos are from the mid-1980s when it was the Allison Theater before it went belly up and was converted to a church.

Here’s what it looked like when it opened in 1921:

ysuarez on October 23, 2009 at 9:34 am

Does any body know the exact date the theater was sold to the Church of God?

shoeshoe14 on September 26, 2007 at 2:09 pm

Opened in 1921. Became the Park Theatre in the 1950s.

shoeshoe14 on May 7, 2007 at 6:23 pm

I went past the theatre the other day and I don’t think the church is there anymore. The facade looks whitewashed and there is brown wood paneling on the bottom of the front and over the previous poster holders. The once jutted out marquee remnants are boarded over and not blended in at all.

anexwaterburian on October 13, 2006 at 9:39 am

Photo of the Hamilton Theater in 1924

View link

shoeshoe14 on September 9, 2006 at 10:32 am

I was there on Thursday and the marquee is torn down in such a haphazard and sloppy way. There was no thought to at least cover it up with sheetrock or anything. Just a big hunk of metal jutting out.

shoeshoe14 on September 19, 2005 at 8:20 pm

That is weird. Most old theaters that are now churches that I’ve seen have kept the marquees. If anything, it advertises better than a flier in the window.

kevin51 on September 19, 2005 at 4:50 pm

i guess they lied to you i passed by there the other day and the marquee is being torn down such a shame

shoeshoe14 on August 17, 2005 at 10:44 am

I was in Waterbury on Monday and decided to visit every listed Waterbury movie theater, living or deceased. Right, 1989 was when the Church of God moved in. I was there and it was beautiful. Quite a trek to get there and the marquee is still there. When you enter the main auditorium, the sound is so muted, it’s amazing. And it’s really hot! The stage is huge and the ceiling is kind of curved like tunnel. The original seats are still there, the flip up kind. There are 4 aisles and it’s about 600 seats as it says on here. The sections on the sides have 4 seats across and the two middle ones have 5 across. The patrons there who spoke a little english let me know they were going to renovate the lobby to make it look like a church more but they would keep the marquee.

prosa123 on May 25, 2005 at 10:32 am

For a theater of no particular architectural distinction, the Hamilton/Park has had quite an interesting history. While orginally an ordinary, first-run theater, by the mid 1960’s it was showing mostly foreign movies, what today would be known as an art house. Movies of that sort weren’t too popular in working-class Waterbury and the Hamilton soon became a porno house. It became enmeshed in a lengthy legal battle around 1970 when the police raided a showing of “Thar She Blows,” a movie which, its title notwithstanding, had nothing to do with the New England whaling industry :) Theater management took out a large advertisement in the local newspaper to celebrate the fact when the courts finally ruled that the movie wasn’t legally obscene.
In the early 1980’s the Hamilton became what must be one of the few theaters to return to showing “normal” movies after a period as a porno house. It was during that time I made my one and only visit there, seeing “Eye of the Needle” starring Donald Sutherland. While the auditorium wasn’t really decrepit, it certainly was in need of some TLC, as they say in real estate ads. By that time the name may have been changed to the Park, though my memory’s a bit hazy. In any event, its spell as a regular movie theater didn’t last long, and by the mid 1980’s the owners sold it to the Church of God.
One more controversy awaited. The Church of God congregation which bought the Hamilton/Park was mainly Spanish-speaking (“Iglesia de Dios.”) The surrounding neighborhood, at the time, was one of the declining number of white ethnic working-class areas that once accounted for much of Waterbury. Some community residents claimed that selling the theater to a Hispanic church would lead to white flight and the neighborhood’s becoming Hispanic itself. They had little legal standing to block the sale and the church soon took over. By the way, the neighborhood actually did become partly Hispanic over the next few years, though given Waterbury’s demographics this likely would have happened in any event.
One night in 1989 or 1990, the theater – now the Iglesia de Dios – showed that if nothing else, it was a real survivor. An apartment building known as the Honeymoon Apartments, which adjoined the south side of the theater building, literally burned to the ground in a truly ferocious fire. It was amazing that all of the residents were able to get out safely. As for the theater building, it suffered a little cosmetic damage but somehow managed to survive a raging fire just a few feet away.

William on November 19, 2003 at 4:19 pm

The Hamilton Theatre seated 625 people.