Colonial Theatre

1 Broadway,
Milford, CT 06460

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Contributed by Dave Bonan

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on June 20, 2007 at 6:19 pm

So I scoped out this area in depth the other day. This section of old buildings and the nearby church represent what’s left of an otherwise-once thriving beach front (per the owner of the convenience store who’s up there in age). She told me the theater can be found in a book available at the Milford Library, “Sand’s in My Shoes”.

The theatre can be one of two buildings. The first one with the beach on your left is the red brick building on the corner near the store. It’s a rooming house on all floors. There seems to be an old entrance but it’s a giant street-level window. Just under the roof is an eave with vertical siding.

Across the street to the left the number is 2 Broadway, but this one really looks like a maritime theater. There’s apartments on the 2nd floor and stores and a restaurant named “Lazy Lobster” on the ground floor. There’s a roof that juts out above the first floor at a 23 degree angle upwards (like a HoJo) with shingles on top of it and 9 white panels underneath with 6 lights. The second floor has a marine aqua blue, large paneling and its roof is like a large 75 degree “Vee”. On the sides is a sunken in roof above the ground floor so you can stand under it with the same tiles underneath and 11 lights. In back it seems like an exit to a theater.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on September 19, 2007 at 5:26 pm

Yep, that last post is true. I was there a few times, talking to locals as well as digging through the local book, “Sand in my Shoes” – a 600+page compilation of various pictures and memories of nearby Walnut and Myrtle Beach (and its resorts) and its land grab of 1959 that all but demolished this last untouched few blocks. You can tell all the condos from here to Silver Sands do not belong.

This Colonial, opened in 1920, was first known as the Strand and when the original Colonial on River Street in Milford Center closed down (still used for offices), the Strand became the Colonial.

It was owned by Mr. Reilley who also played piano there but taken over by Mr. and Mrs. Gill. It was originally owned by their parents. This theater had an overflow just for the summer crowd (closed in the fall) a few doors down called the Tower Theatre which is now part of St. Gabriel’s Church.

There are many stories from the local kids back in the day about the former hotel behind this theater and its seedy strip joint nightclub called “The Sandview Hotel, with its Emerald Room”.

In 1945 or 46, Bob and Viola Elliano purchased the theatre(s) and offered many product giveaways. They also staged bingo events but since they were illegal back then, they were raided by State and local for police for illegal gambling.

The Colonial had a vertical marquee and also had a balcony. The dates this theater closed differ, but the last entry in the book say the mid-1960s and it then became Ann’s Newfield Bakery.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 19, 2007 at 10:38 pm

A Robert-Morton theater organ was installed in a Colonial Theater in Milford, CT in 1928.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on November 1, 2007 at 5:59 pm

According to the Milford/Orange City Directory, the Colonial appears in the 1924 edition, the 1939 edition (at 2-4-6 Broadway) and makes its last appearance in the 1960 edition.

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on November 2, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Bryan, please add also known as Strand.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 24, 2007 at 12:36 pm

So, I’m comfused – do you know if this theatre is still standing?

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 24, 2007 at 12:43 pm

Yes it is, but it looks a little different than one would imagine. Newer 70s-ish tile facade, apartments upstairs. It’s not too traditional looking since it’s on the ocean.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 25, 2007 at 5:29 pm

OK, the building that is at 1 Broadway (36 Naugatuck Ave.) is on the Milford assessor’s site at View link . According to that this building was built in 1954 which would mean the old theatre was demolished and this was built in its place. However, you said you found that the theatre was open into the 1960’s, so how could this building have been built in 1954? I have looked at my old postcard of the Colonial and compared it to the photos I took today and decided the comparison is inconclusive. I’m more confused than ever!

shoeshoe14
shoeshoe14 on December 26, 2007 at 5:25 pm

Right Roger. I came up with that too. Originally Broadway stretched to the other end of town, to the east thru what is now that horrific stretch of condos. That’s Broadway and this is East Broadway. City Directories also rarely lie.

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