Capitol Theatre

880 Main Street,
Sanford, ME 04073

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Capitol Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the 1,300 seat Leavitt’s Theatre, which was built by Frank C. Leavitt. The name was changed to Capitol Theatre around 1930. The Capitol Theatre closed in 1968 and was demolished.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2011 at 11:12 am

The Leavitt Theatre was under construction in late 1910. In its issues of November 5 and November 19 that year, trade journal Domestic Engineering carried items about the letting of the plumbing contract and the installation of a heating plant.

Frank C. Leavitt was one of Sanford’s leading citizens, a coal and wood merchant, and the owner of quite a bit of property, including the town’s most important business block, but that didn’t stop him from getting into trouble with the law. He opened Sanford’s first movie theater in a billiard parlor on the fourth floor of the Leavitt Building in 1908, and apparently some locals were not pleased with the new entertainment. The official report of the state’s attorney general, covering cases for two years through November 30, 1908, included a report that Frank C. Leavitt had been charged with exhibiting obscene pictures.

Fortunately he was found not guilty, or it might have ended his promising career as a movie exhibitor, and the Leavitt Theatre might never have been built.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm

In the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac, the Capitol in Sanford is listed as part of the E.M. Loew theater circuit of Boston. EML also ran the State Theatre in Sanford at that time.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on August 9, 2015 at 7:52 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Capitol; it’s Card # 442. Address is Main St. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Condition is Good. The report says that it’s under 15 years old, and is showing MGM movies. There were 550 main floor seats and 450 balcony seats. 1940 population was 14,800.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 9, 2015 at 9:13 pm

A map of a walking tour of Sanford (PDF here) shows the location of the Capitol Theatre to have been at the northeast corner of Main Street (ME-109) and Water Street (US-202.) However, a photo of the Leavitt Theatre published in 1914 (Google Books scan) shows it to have been a mid-block building. It seems likely that Water Street was realigned at some point, though, so the map could be accurate if that location was once a couple of doors east of the old intersection.

Sanford has apparently renumbered its lots at some point, because the modern building nearest the Capitol’s site (and perhaps directly on it,) a 7-11 store, is at modern address 880 Main Street.

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