Monroe Theatre

585 Monroe Avenue,
Rochester, NY 14607

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Monroe© Theatre Rochester NY

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened in 1927, at one time, it was the most well known of the neighborhood theatres in this city. The Monroe Theatre was operated by the Schine Circuit by 1941. It was the last remaining neighborhood theatre in Rochester when it showed its final regular movie in 1970. It was where such films as “The Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma” used to come for an engagement. In the early-1960’s it was a Cinerama theatre. It then went over to screening porn films until 1995.

I only have dim memories of the interior, but the exterior is brick with cement trim cast into the shape of classic moldings and urns. Over the entrance doors is a large bas-relief panel of drapery clad dancing maidens.

A couple of years ago the theatre’s exterior was painted over in a truly hideous flourescent green and black color scheme, presumably an attempt on the current owner’s part to keep the building from being declared a city landmark.

In September 2008, the auditorium was demolished, leaving just the facade and foyer areas.

Contributed by Carl Laitenberger

Recent comments (view all 53 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 17, 2008 at 11:40 am

I will continue to beleive that at the very least some sort of restoration effort is takng place on the Monroe until someone submits a photo of the vacant lot. tbear’s #2 and my #2 and #3 photos clearly show a clean cut in the brick on the front half of the auditorium rather than having been knocked down. And I cannot see why they would start a complete demolition in the middle of the building.

Also in my #7 photo it is obvious that the green paint job has been almost 50% removed (no small job in itself) and also windows have been removed in the front rather than having been knocked out.

Waiting on a photo….


kschneider on November 27, 2008 at 8:18 pm

They are definitely keeping the facade of the building. They cut off the auditorium, and they have now built a new cement block wall at the back end of what is left of the theater. The paint has all been stripped from the front now. Workers are currently working on the foundation for the Rite Aid drugstore.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on November 28, 2008 at 4:01 pm

Demolition would have been a more dignified end for the Monroe than becoming a drug store………


DavidZornig on June 16, 2009 at 5:30 pm

Am I the only one who noticed the SNAFU store next door? How fitting for the X rated fare at the Monroe.
Extra credit for the “Dead Head” logo in the store’s window. (cue the rim shot) Doh!

DavidZornig on August 4, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Looks good, new windows and all throughout. Shame about the loss of the auditorium though.

To answer Don’s 11/08 question, demolition crews often start their demo in the middle of buildings that are being torn down. Even if surrounding structures are not to be saved.
It is a way in which to contain collateral damage, and it creates a bowl like staging area, in which to bulldoze fallen brick & materials into scoopable piles. It also eliminates “cave-ins”.

When saving partial buildings or surrounding structures is involved, it allows the crews to sort of shave off from the inside, what might otherwise undermine the structural integrity of everything else. By peeling away layers more delicately. It also prevents damage to the neighboring foundations.

shoeshoe14 on January 26, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I was there on Saturday nite. The top white frieze? is beautiful and although it was misting out, I managed to snap a few pics of the rear and front. It was pretty cool. Parking is now behind the building.

kencmcintyre on February 10, 2010 at 5:58 pm

The Monroe lives on in the map photo. Thank you Googlemobile.

cmbussmann on July 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

While I am sad to read that this place has been demolished, I am also not surprised. I lived around the corner from the Monroe Theatre in the mid-to-late 90’s (when it was Show World) and it was a sketchy place for sure. Got mugged once right out under the marquee! Lots of drug dealers and pimps around too. It was funny to watch respectable Pittsford-looking types ducking in to purchase porn on their lunch breaks. I never went inside even though I was curious about the interior. Would’ve loved to have seen this place in all it’s 70mm glory!

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 17, 2012 at 12:47 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

michaelhook1 on June 10, 2015 at 6:54 am

Saw my first porno at the Monroe – “Sensational Jeanine”. Man was she, uh, “sensational”! :–)

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