Shea's Kensington Theater

3051 Bailey Avenue,
Buffalo, NY 14215

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Dipson Circuit, Shea Theatres

Architects: Henry L. Spann

Previous Names: Oscar Micheaux Theater

Nearby Theaters

Shea's Kensington Theater

This is not to be confused with the Kensington Theater at 525 Grider Street in Buffalo. It opened December 25, 1926. It was destroyed by a huge explosion in the 1980’s.

Contributed by Ret. AKC(NAC) Bob Jensen

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

PGlenat on September 26, 2007 at 11:50 pm

This theatre was built as Shea’s Kensington theatre and should probably be listed that way to differentiate it from another Kensington theatre that existed on Grider St. It was one of the chain of theatres operated by Michael Shea and was located at the corner of Bailey Av and Kensington St. In it’s later years it was renamed the Oscar Micheaux theatre with a mix of live theatre and films. A mysterious explosion in the 80’s reputed to be from a natural gas leak destroyed most of the building. The entire building was then demolished. A strip plaza occupies the rear portion of the property today.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on September 27, 2007 at 9:13 am

I knew one of the Kensington Theaters was a Shea’s, but I didn’t know which one. I was in hope that someone would know and fill that part in.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is CINERAMA!” Lowell Thomas

roberttoplin on December 21, 2007 at 11:32 pm

The Kensington Theater at 3051 Bailey Ave. opened on Christmas Day, 1926 with 1,500 seats. It was designed by Henry Spann and W. Lusk was the Interior Designer.

railroad on April 9, 2008 at 12:29 am

Phone number 1960: PArkside 8216

LouB on May 26, 2008 at 6:59 pm

I found the following list of owners for this theatre at

1926-1930 Shea Operating Co. (Paramount-Publix)
1935-1948 Buffalo Pictures (Paramount)
1948-1955 New Buffalo Amusements (Loew’s)
1969-1980 Dipson Circuit

LouB on April 15, 2009 at 10:43 am

View link

The website above shows the theatre in 1982.

alknobloch on May 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Interesting theater – Ken Kavanaugh, who used to be a union projectionist, told me that it had the largest screen of any ‘neighborhood’ theater in the city.

As I remember it from watching films there, it was basically a big rectangle inside – don’t recall any balcony – but the huge screen was truly impressive.

It it’s last days, it was really getting run down. I was actually in the theater when, during the main feature, part of the rear ceiling came crashing down on (fortunately) empty seats, causing some consternation for the (fortunately) small audience in attendance!

vanpattd on June 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

As a young man, I worked at the Kensington from ~ 1971 to 1977. I’d love to locate some pictures of the place.

RobbDelman on April 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

alknobloch: You are right about the screen. I was a regular Saturday Matinee guy just down the street (Bailey Ave.) @ The Varsity (it WAS, after all, 10 cents less). The first time I walked into the Kensington, I was gobsmacked by the size of the picture. The movies also played The Ken about 3-4 weeks earlier than at The Varsity.

rosemary on October 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm

I grew up in the Bailey/Kensington Area, we moved there in 1951. I remember this movie theatre fondly. HUGE screen. On saturday it was a free for all, kids running all over, but we could watch cartoons all afternoon. There was also the Varsity Cinema further down Bailey which was very “artsy” for a while. The Kensington Theatre as state earlies “blew up” in the middle of the night, rumors where the “mafia” was involved, I assume for the insurance money. really sad.

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