Lyric Theater

447 Washington Street,
Buffalo, NY 14203

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The building this theater was located in offered live entertainment for years, last known as the Lyceum Theater. In 1906 it became the Lyric Theater, and vaudeville and photoplays were offered. Although the building was remodeled in 1911, it was closed down by the city’s Fire Marshall in 1912.

In 1914 the “New Lyric” opened with 1,500 seats, and a major upgrading. Again, vaudeville and movies were offered. On Sundays, only movies were shown. The Lyric Theater was an aging theater, and new movie palaces were opening or planned for downtown Buffalo, and in 1921 the last shows were given.

The theater was torn down at once, and the grand 3,382-seat Lafayette Theater put up in its place. That theater was razed in 1962, replaced by a parking lot.

Contributed by alan lapp

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

TivFan
TivFan on January 15, 2013 at 10:08 am

I have a postcard showing the intersection of Broadway and Washington Streets. The New Lyric is shown. A horizontal canopy is seen below a large vertical sign. The top of the sign has admission prices: 15 25 35 50. The word NEW is horizontal, then LYRIC is vertical. Below, the sign contours wider and states:
XXXXXX XXXXXX STOCK COMPANY. Two words are not readable (horizontally) and the two words underneath are STOCK COMPANY. Below this are other signs that are undreadable, but one may advertise an admission of 10 cents.
The view also shows the former theater on the site of the Lafayette Theatre and Building (on the corner) and the Olympic Theatre. The card is not dated with a postmark.

TivFan
TivFan on January 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm

The postcard mentioned in my Jan 15/13 comment can be seen at: wnyheritagepress.org—on the home page, click on “PICTORIALS”/under “DOWNTOWN BUFFALO” click on “14 Lafayette Square”. Scroll down, and it’s there.

TivFan
TivFan on February 11, 2013 at 8:07 am

It appears that there were two Lyric Theatres. The first Lyric opened in the converted bank building located on the corner of Washington and Broadway. This structure was built by the Buffalo Savings Bank in 1866-67. When the bank moved to its new location (Main and Genesee) in 1901, this building was converted to the Lyric Theatre. The main facade and entrance was on Washington Street.

TivFan
TivFan on February 11, 2013 at 8:32 am

Photos of the original bank and the converted Lyric Theatre can be seen at wnyheritagepress.org/click on “PICTORIALS”/under “DOWNTOWN BUFFALO” click on “Corner of Washington & Broadway – 1920-present”. Click on “Lafayette Square – then & now”/see a postcard of the square showing the Lyric (c. 1908). Click on “10 Lafayette Square…”/see a photo showing the Lyric in the distance. The upper peak of the theater is seen, but the name is obscured—but the word THEATRE can be seen. Also, the sign on the corner reads “10-20 cent VAUDEVILLE”. Click on “14 Lafayette Square…”/see the postcard mentioned on Jan. 15-18. The Lyric can be seen on the corner in the right foreground. The sign on the corner now reads “PHOTOPLAYS” (changed from “VAUDEVILLE”).

TivFan
TivFan on February 11, 2013 at 8:45 am

Now here is where I’m not clear. It states above that the Lyric Theatre was renamed the Lyceum. When the New Lyric opened, it was a new theater. It seems it existed at the same time as the former Lyric on the corner. Both are shown on the postcard mentioned before. Was the former Lyric renamed the Lyceum and in business at the same time as the New Lyric? This sounds right. Then both the Lyceum/Lyric and the New Lyric were demolished for the Lafayette Theatre and Building.

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