Center Moriches Theatre

16 Railroad Avenue,
Center Moriches, NY 11934

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This medium sized, wooden, gabled building began its life as Senekes Hall, an opera house, in 1884. Sometime around the beginning of the 20th century it was relocated to its present site from Montauk Highway when Canal Street was built. In the new location the building served as, among other things, the gymnasium for the high school around World War I, before becoming a motion picture theatre. It is listed as the Opera House in the 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory.

Somewhere along the way it also lost its Victorian architecture including a belfry. In the 1940’s a second entrance was provided since, initially, there was only a small flight of steps running parallel to the front of the building leading to a single door. The theatre eventually became part of the Prudential Circuit chain and closed in the early-1950’s (1954?).

Shortly thereafter it reopened as a dry cleaning establishment, a simple transformation by removing the seats and bringing in all the cleaning apparatus since the auditorium was level. The lobby was also reconfigured and the second entrance removed. The only physical remnants of its history on site are two theatre cards from 1946 displayed behind the retail counter and the openings from the projection booth which has now been converted to an office.

Pictures of the opera house, the theatre and the cleaners (before and after an addition was built) appear in "Illustrated History of the Moriches" by Van and Mary Fields. I have found no images on line to which I could provide a link.

Contributed by rvb

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

robboehm
robboehm on April 23, 2009 at 6:43 am

This is supposed to read Center Moriches Theatre not Opera House, that’s the way I created it.

robboehm
robboehm on April 23, 2009 at 9:55 am

Thanks Lost Memory. Did you correct the name or did the webmaster. If you did will you tell me how I want to fix the Twin Babylon to read the correct address on Montauk Highway in West Babylon from the posting which shows the wrong number, the wrong street and the wrong town (but who’s complaining).

robboehm
robboehm on April 23, 2009 at 10:23 am

Actually, I gave the corrected address, street name and town in my posting of April 4, 2009. I just checked back and the information is still incorrect. I send an email to whom? Not only am I a site novice, despite having added three theatres, but also on the computer.

Bway
Bway on February 15, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Wow, I never even knew this theater existed….
Here’s a google street view of it:

Click here

robboehm
robboehm on February 16, 2010 at 5:30 am

Building on the right, the cleaners, is the former theatre. I have not located any links that show the theatre, in the day. However, I do have an image from the book I mentioned in an earlier posting which I’ll have to find out how to get it online, not being a techie type person. Actually, I have photo images of several other theatres which I would also do when I know how.

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