Jones Theatre

495 South Exchange Street,
Geneva, NY 14456

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balcony theater

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This theatre was built in 1915 and resides just around the corner from the Geneva Theatre, or Smith Opera House. It was orginally a stage theatre and later converted to a cinema. By 1941, it was operated by the Schine Circuit as the Regent Theatre. Current efforts to reuse this theatre are actively underway. It became a church, then in 2012 part of the building was converted into a children’s play area. The upper section of the building has reopened as the Jones Theatre, screening movies and presenting live theatre performances.

Contributed by Daniel R. Long, RA

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on August 5, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Along with the Seneca Street “Geneva” and the demolished Exchange St. “Temple”, the Regent was one of the 3 Schine Chain theaters in Geneva. This was actually Schine’s first Geneva house and they operated out of it during the renovation of the former Smith’s Opera House into the Schine Geneva Theater. That magnificent Italianate garden atmospheric still stands beautifully restored today.

Sadly, insensitive plexing cost this theater most of its architectural elements and charachter. I recall that in the balcony screen area one can see a lot of decorative plaster and some other elements behind the screen. (Yes, that’s what we theater nuts do when we get into these plexed theaters — peek behind curtains, screens and the like!) Although all are coated with several layers of paint.

Hopefully, some kind of respectful reuse can be found. It is probably too late to return it to its original design and style. But i do hope that those who spearhead this project will at least attempt to research and replace some of the original decor. Just let me know when you need some help, Cara Leigh! : )

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on December 28, 2008 at 3:38 am

One of my “favorite” photos of the Cinema. Couldn’t resist!
http://flickr.com/photos/24272869@N00/3144172110/

But this is the way i prefer to remember it!
http://flickr.com/photos/24272869@N00/3143355575/

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on October 7, 2010 at 9:56 am

This theater is now in use by a small church. The marquee is still up. The church leaders were very nice and let me come in and take lots of photos as they worked on sprucing up the interior. There really wasn’t much to photograph since the theater has been badly altered over the years. It was never as opulent as the Schine Geneva Theater on Seneca Street but had a look all of its own.

drlong
drlong on October 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

The Regent will gain new life with the renovations into a children’s playplace called KidVentureDome. The main theater will be reopened to one space and the upper theater (originally the balcony) will be restored with lounge seating and repaired details for special events such as “Parent’s Night Out” with classic movies and catered meals.

The marquee will be updated and re-lit for the new business.

ww_kayak
ww_kayak on November 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

So, I was going through some boxes from my parents house, which obviously came from their parents house… A couple of the old books contained this program from the Geneva Theatre in 1924 :)

Regent Theatre 1924: https://picasaweb.google.com/107282537971480145759/RegentTheatreGenevaNY?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

Google’s street views for Exchange Street are a complete mess. I’ve set the view as near the theater as it will get. Also, lostmemory was apparently right that the correct address for the Geneva Cinema 5 is 495 Exchange Street.

Periodicals from 1914-1915 confirm that the Regent Theatre was designed by Leon H. Lempert & Son, but as Leon Lempert, Sr. died in 1909, Leon H. Lempert, Jr. should be listed as the architect.

danlong
danlong on January 30, 2014 at 10:38 am

I couldn’t find my old sign in so I made a new login. The Regent is alive and well! We have renovated the entire downstairs into a kids playspace and kept the balcony area as The Jones Theatre. This space carries on the tradition of screeing movies but now sets the stage for new live acts as well as Dine-in theater! Come on down, eat a great meal, have a drink and sit back to relax and enjoy a classic movie on the big screen!

Future efforts are upgrades to the heating/cooling systems, restoration of the original main theater ceiling and screen areas. There is so much hidden behind the walls and ceilings!

Come follow our efforts at the facebook page for The Jones Theatre!

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