Main Theatre

124-128 E. Main Street,
Ephrata, PA 17522

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Main Theatre

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The Main Theatre, originally located at 124 E. Main Street was opened in 1938. It was part of the 9 theatre chain owned and operated by the Stiefel Family. Used mostly for second run engagements after the films were shown in first run Lancaster, PA city theatres. In 1981 the admission was changed to $1.50 reruns. The theatre was closed on May 17, 1990.

The theatre building was purchased by the local Denver and Ephrata Telephone Company, whose corporate headquarters was located next door. After engineering and architectural studies were completed, it was determined the deterioration of the building was too extensive and was demolished. The last remaining years of operation, there were more sections of the auditorium roped off, due to falling plaster.

Plans were completed for a new “Brossman Business Complex” on the site. These plans included two new theatres. On Nov. 12, 1993, the Main Twin Theatre reopened. One theatre is named the Roxy and has a stage for live presentations. The other is named the Grand and is used exclusively for films. Both theatres show first run films.

Some of the original theatres interior has been restored and reused in the new complex. The neon wall lights in the original have been restored and are used in the new theatres. The original Art Deco chrome box office which was located on the outside of the theatre has been restored and used as the box office inside for the new twin complex. It is a first class theatre built in the 1990’s to look like the Art Deco style of the 1930’s!

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on December 18, 2005 at 3:52 am

Management of the Main Theatre has recently been taken over by the gentleman who leased and operated the now closed Columbia Drive In outside of Columbia, PA. It was the last drive operating in Lancaster Co., Pa. Developers purchased the site and there have been many rumors as to its future use both commercial and residential. At one time, Budco operated the Drive In. I believe the drive in is listed on this website.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 22, 2008 at 10:40 pm

The aka is duplicative of the title. Here is some additional information:
http://tinyurl.com/5lpnx4

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on August 23, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Lost Memory – The original theatre was demolished. The theatre that was opened in 1938 is gone. I was the one to submit this theatre to Cinema Treasures. I was the one that wrote the above history. And as stated in that the theatre was purchased by the Denver and Ephrata Telephone company. The building was too deteriorated to be saved. The twin theatre operating there now is a new complex incorporated into the new office building that was built on the site of the original theatre. As I wrote above, they salvaged parts of the original theatre. The marquee is in use at the street entrance and the entrance to the parking garage. The box office is used at the inside entrance to the theatre. The original wall lights are used in both theatres.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on August 23, 2008 at 7:08 pm

Thanks Lost Memory. My original purpose in listing this theatre was the original theatre and it’s history. Adding what had become of some of the furnishings in the original was an afterthought. In my mind Cinema Treasures are the movie palaces of yester years. The multiplexes of today will never be Cinema Treasures in my eyes. They are showboxes with a white wall on one end. Although the Main Twin Theatres are a modern treasure by incorporating the decor of the original theatre.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on April 26, 2009 at 2:56 am

Those front doors still exist on the new office building and theatre combo. Even the box office is now inside at the theatre entrance.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 6, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I loved this theater. It was almost exactly like some of the neighborhood theaters I used to attend when I was a kid in Harrisburg. I lived through the razing of the vintage theaters on the second block of N. Queen St. in Lancaster but it still broke my heart when the Main went.
I do remember that towards the end the roof was leaking and certain sections of seats were roped off lest the ceiling fell on someone!
I remember seeing Disney’s “Song of the South” at the Main, during what was probably its last re-issue prior to its being withdrawn from circulation.

Ross Care
Ross Care on February 6, 2010 at 10:42 pm

PS: The photos posted by LostMemory are great. Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The “Theatres Under Construction” column of The Film Daily for December 16, 1938, includes this brief note for the Main Theatre: “Ephrata — Main, 750 seats; Architect: D. Supowitz; Operator: Harry Stiefer; To be completed 12-15-38.”

Ross Care
Ross Care on April 22, 2014 at 8:47 pm

Please see my new photo of the Main interior with vintage light fixtures.

dennisczimmerman
dennisczimmerman on April 22, 2014 at 9:43 pm

As I posted on your picture post, those wall lights were saved when the theatre was torn down and were repaired and upgraded and installed in the twin theatres that were included within the new building that replaced the original theatre. As I mentioned in an earlier post even the box office was saved and used for the new theatres. Except it is now located inside rather than at the sidewalk.

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