Colonial Theater

10 Congress Street,
Portsmouth, NH 03801

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DEVON
DEVON on September 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm

When I lived in Portsmouth in the 80s, I frequently went to the Colonial Theater. If you arrived early enough you could park in the really small parking lot next door. In the lobby, the attendant actually melted butter in a small pan to put on the popcorn. The most memorable movie I saw at the Colonial was “Eraserhead”. I really miss this movie theater. While I occasionally went to its sister theater down the street, the Civic, now the Music Hall, the Colonial was my primary place to go any night of the week. There was a weekly mimeographed entertainment newsletter published for the city that would describe the films playing which I read with relish and would highlight the ones that sounded intriguing. It was there I saw so many great art and classic films.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2011 at 3:53 am

The 1920 edition of “Seaman’s Handbook for Shore Leave” (published by the United States Merchant Marine Social Service Bureau) lists the attractions of various port cities around the world. Under the heading Places of Amusement, the entry for Portsmouth, New Hampshire lists: “Colonial Theatre, Congress St. (vaudeville, moving pictures); Olympia Theatre, Vaughn St. (moving pictures.)”

KCB3Player
KCB3Player on April 20, 2010 at 7:09 am

I used to live in Manchester, NH in the early 80’s and was in the AF Reserve and went to Portsmouth, NH quite a bit. I loved the old Colonial Theater in the center of town. It was closed, but there was a video store in the lobby and the owner took me into the theater to see it after hours. It was a beauty and could have been a wonderful performing arts theater, or maybe modified and tiered for a banquet facility. I know about the old Music Hall – I saw movies in there. But, why would the City of Portsmouth have ever let that theater be demolished – that is just wrong. Can someone please post pics of the Colonial Theater?? What a sad loss for NH.

spectrum
spectrum on September 29, 2007 at 11:12 am

Seating capacity of the Colonial was 1,256. Probably built in the early 1920s. I remember visiting in mid 80s. The organ grilles and proscenium were covered in modern drapery but the original balcony sidewalls showed, with modestly ornate columns and panels with dark green damask fabric. Building looked like it was built in the early 1920s.

hollister22nh
hollister22nh on June 3, 2005 at 7:59 am

The lobby and marquee of this theater was finally demolished in late May of 2005. An ajoining building, possibly the one Paul Revere and others planned a raid of Fort William and Mary (known to many as the first act of the revolutionary war…) was also torn down. These lots and an ajoining parking lot are to be replaced with condos.

—John

cindy
cindy on May 13, 2004 at 10:12 am

Eagle Photo, the business, is not closed. We plan to remain in business for MANY MORE years to come. Please DO NOT refer to the building as Eagle Photo. We plan to relocate within the downtown business district. Thank you, Cindy Williamson, Owner Eagle Photo