Colonial Theater

313-17 Hamilton Street,
Allentown, PA 18101

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ALLENTOWN (COLONIAL) Theatre; Allentown, Pennsylvania.

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The Colonial Theater, which opened in 1920 and was closed since 1982, was unfortunately razed in March of 2005.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

telliott
telliott on March 29, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Hi Pete, see the listing for the Rialto in Allentown, I’ve written about my memories of attending the movies at various theatres around the city. Also look under the News section about the demolition of the Colonial, there are several comments there. As I’ve said in those other postings, I have several fond memories of visiting my aunt and uncle who lived on Walnut St. and attending many theatres there. It’s too bad that there are none of the theatres that you mentioned above left. Not even the Lehigh Valley multiplex where you would think would be a perfect place for a new one. And none downtown. I guess the downtown is not like it used to be.

PeteHawke
PeteHawke on April 1, 2005 at 10:59 am

Hi Tim, thanks for the info. Yes, downtown Allentown is a ghost of its former self. There is a new 16 screen multiplex in Allentown on Airport Road – – – the Carmike. And the already old AMC Tilghman 8 with no stadium seats on the West End. The 19th street Theater still exists showing foreign and independent films mixed with live stage productions. Bethlehem is doing much better in revitalizing its downtown – – both on the North and South sides. The former Bethlehem Steel property is going to be changed into an entertainment complex with theaters, restaurants, shops and hotels within the next 5 – 10 years (they say) with the hopes of also getting slot machine gambling. If that happens, it’ll really take off. Bethlehem also has a 10 multiplex theater – – the Regal Cinemas over South Mountain near Black River Road. Forgot to mention that Northampton has its beautiful art deco theater – – the Roxy – – but it is a second-run movie house. Do you remember the drive-in movie theaters? All are gone except for the Shankweiler’s D.I. (the oldest in the USA) above Allentown and Becky’s D.I. near Allentown. People still go out to see a movie, but videos and DVDs have definitely taken over. We’re in the era of the COUCH POTATO. Pete Hawke

teecee
teecee on July 7, 2005 at 6:00 am

An Estey organ, opus 1843, was installed in this theater in 1920.

RJS
RJS on September 14, 2005 at 6:45 am

The zip code for this theater should be updated to 18101.
This theater was sold by UA in the late 1980’s and the new owner did nothing with it except lock the doors. It pretty much stood empty and totally unused and not maintained until the city started cracking down because it was falling into disrepair.
The owner made a few roof repairs around 2000, but then stopped because he lacked the proper permits for the type of work being completed.
For at least 5 years city engineers kept saying the building was in danger of collapse, but it just kept on standing. After many court battles, the city began demolition March 2005. I drove by in August and an empty lot remains. The location is directly to the west of the old Lehigh County courthouse.

hondo59
hondo59 on March 21, 2006 at 8:02 am

The demolition company said that they were going to save the “Colonial” marquee script and give it to the city.

RJS
RJS on March 23, 2007 at 5:58 pm

Here is a 1990 image of the Colonial in Allentown.

View link

melbatoast60
melbatoast60 on July 16, 2007 at 8:05 am

There was a huge rehearsal hall on the third floor (I think it was the third). In the 70’s when I was a teen I sang with a local Up With People group and we rehearsed there.

skipfusion
skipfusion on August 1, 2010 at 8:43 am

Well, here it is, if anybody wants to see it. I guess it is maybe the best way of seeing how truly horrible the condition of the building had gotten, so if there was any doubt in your mind whether it should be torn down, this’ll put a rest to it. The theater is hard to see, it was not only dark, but we were hanging onto a metal ladder than came down from the projection booth. The floor was invisible and sounded like a small lake had formed at the bottom. I tried to boost the levels to make it more visible and in the process got carried away with editing…now it looks like some cheap Ghost Hunters knock-off. Oh well, it still gives me the chills.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4PP27ew2mwA

DjFlip
DjFlip on February 9, 2012 at 1:03 am

WOW sad to hear the theater was destroyed (taken down) and no one did anything to save (restore) it. This building should have became a piece of history.. I also want to add that the info about it being closed since 1982 is incorrect and I am sure of that because in 1984 I saw the movie Breaking there.. Again, so sad to hear its demolition.. Just found out about the demolition because I been away from Allentown since 1992.. I love and miss Allentown so if any one knows a good site where I can download images, please let me know..

Dave Harding
Dave Harding on December 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Here is an article on what is planned for the site of the former colonial theater.

http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-three-city-center-colonial-planning-20131219,0,5123027.story

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