Victoria Theatre

211 Walnut Street,
Parsons, WV 26287

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The Victoria Theatre was open as early as 1934. Seating was listed at 702 which is fairly large for a town of a little over 2,000. The theatre closed in the late-1950’s. The building is still standing.

Any additional information on the Victoria Theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 20, 2013 at 4:17 pm

The NRHP Registration Form for the Parsons Depot has this information: “Two opera houses were built, the first in 1904 and the second in 1909. The latter became the Victoria Theatre, a movie theater.”

The only opera house at Parsons that is listed in the Cahn guide, The Hansford Opera House, appears in both the 1906 and 1909 editions, so it must have been the one built in 1904. I’ve found no clues to the name of the 1909 opera house that became the Victoria Theatre. A local source will probably have to be found.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm

This house might have been called the Victoria Theatre from the time of its opening in 1909. It is listed under that name in the 1912-1913 Cahn-Leighton guide. It was a ground floor house with 474 orchestra seats, 230 seats in the balcony, a gallery with 84 seats, and boxes seating 16. The stage was 50 feet between side walls and 41 feet front to back. The proscenium was 28x22 feet. The Hansford Opera House was not listed in the 1912 guide.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Until the late 19th-early 20th century, theaters were more likely to be built on the second floor of a building than the ground floor. The owners of the buildings wanted to keep the street floor for retail shops and other daytime uses. The change to ground floor theaters was partly the result of increasingly strict fire laws, but the growing popularity of movies probably helped accelerate the transition. Live theaters typically had matinees only one or two days a week, but movie theaters could afford to open by noon and run far into the evening, keeping the valuable street-floor space busy most of the day.

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