Victoria Theatre

46 W. Independence Street,
Shamokin, PA 17872

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David_Schneider on April 27, 2016 at 10:37 am

My late mother, Rita Dusick, grew up in Shamokin on South 1st Street in the 1930‘s, 40‘s and 50‘s and moved away probably by 1960. She graduated from Coal Township High School in 1952. (Does anyone remember her and/or her family?: father John J. (who was a Justice of the Peace and died in 1963), mother Victoria Wysocki, sister Marian.)

I visited Shamokin for the first time in September of 2013 during what I called my “PA Trip ‘13“. … I found it moving to walk upon streets my mother inhabited before I was ever a concept.

At the Shamokin-Coal Township Heritage Museum in the American Legion Building on Independence Street next to the Public Library (210 East Independence Street), I bought a locally produced book called “Matinee Memories” about the movie theaters of Shamokin, including some that existed before the Victoria, Capitol and Majestic.

I have uploaded a photo of the cover and the inside cover in the photos section.

The author, Garth Hall, passed away in January 2016, and I got the impression the book was only available from him/the museum.

The inside cover says the project was prepared for The Northumberland County Council For The Arts & Humanities. Perhaps they have copies for sale or perusal and can be contacted by clicking here.

Maybe the Shamokin-Coal Township Public Library next to the museum has a copy or can tell you where to find one.

And there is the Northumberland County Historical Society to try if other options don’t pan out.

You could include the photo of the book when emailing these places so they know what you are asking about.

moviemadness1982 on June 29, 2011 at 11:49 pm

Hi everyone!!!!! I am now 28 years old, I have lived in Shamokin pretty much all of my life. One of the places that I lived before was right there on 122 E. Independence St., downtown. I went to the Victoria Theater all the time when I was younger. On a Friday night, there would be people lined up for blocks from the theater, it was an amazing sight to see. They almost went as far down as where I lived, in the middle of town. Those were the days, when there were actually fun things to do around here, now everyone sits at home and plays video games or watches TV or movies. It just doesn’t have the same feel as going to a theater as classic as the Victoria Theater. It was truly a marvel to see, even as a kid, I could kind of appreciate it. I would give anything to have another theater that could have that same classic look and try to have that same classic feel. William Harold Lee, who designed the place, was a genius and a legend. If I ever become rich, I can guarantee you that the first thing I would do with my money is come back to Shamokin, Pennsylvania and try to recreate a place that could have amazing memories like the ones that I will live with for the rest of my life. Hit me up on Facebook!!!!! I am Jason Hendricks from Shamokin, Pennsylvania. My email address is Feel free to contact me if you wanna talk about theaters or whatever.

Dalado on May 16, 2008 at 9:40 pm

My photo of the Vic and Majestic in their prime.

View link

Only was in their once or twice. Now as a photographer, I would have loved to have 10 minutes with it.

markp on January 10, 2008 at 6:55 pm

I had the pleasure to visit this theatre in June 1993, when a buddy of mine from Shamokin was getting married. He was friends with the owner at that time. Jurrasic Park was playing. Went to the projection room and still had the old peerless carbon arc lamphouses burning bright behind the old simplex e-7 projectors. What a loss.

kencmcintyre on September 10, 2007 at 9:12 pm

Wikipedia says “Hometown is a census-designated place (CDP) in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1399 at the 2000 census.” You’ll have to read the entire entry if you need to more about these CDP towns.

TheaterBuff1 on September 10, 2007 at 9:04 pm

There really is an actual place called “Hometown”? Mention of it at this particular Cinema Treasures' webpage is a bit ironic, since Shamokin, PA was the hometown of William Harold Lee, ranked among the greatest of 20th century theater architects, and designer of the Victoria Theatre this page was created for, no less. And to think given that it somehow got torn down. Alas, I guess as Jesus said, “a prophet is never recognized in his home town.” For as theater architects go, W.H. Lee was a futurist is ever there was one. From what I’ve observed, he masterfully designed his theaters to readily adapt to changing and evolving cinematic trends. For instance, he made so many of them widescreen-ready before anyone was even thinking in terms of widescreen.

kencmcintyre on September 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm

In 1967, the Victoria was operated by Magazzu Enterprises of Mt. Carmel, PA. Other Magazzu theaters at the time were the Angela in Coaldale, the Andrea in Lansford, the Victoria in Tamaqua, the Valley Drive-In in Hometown, the Natalie Drive-In in Natalie and the Victoria in Mt. Carmel.

cindyd on August 21, 2006 at 12:04 pm

I just found this site today and enjoyed reading many of the posts re: the Victoria theatre in Shamokin, PA. I was born and raised in Shamokin and saw many, many movies at “the Vicky”, as we Shamokin natives called it, before moving in 1989. I especially remember seeing “Jaws” and “Star Wars” when I was in my late teens; what a huge screen! I live in Orlando, Fl now, home of the theme parks. Always wished I could have found someone with deep pockets and a love of history to invest what it would have taken to restore the Victoria to its original glory. Unfortunately, Shamokin is too depressed of a coal town for most people to see it as a good investment. (I don’t remember the Majestic, which used to be next to the Victoria, but I do remember visiting the Capital theater when I was about 5 yrs old to see Snow White. It was across the street and about 2 ½ blocks further on Independence St., where Wendy’s is today.

TheaterBuff1 on April 18, 2006 at 8:32 pm

I’ve created a special Cinema Treasures webpage where I invite all interested parties to discuss in greater detail what they feel the likely impact that Pennsylvania’s recently legalized gambling will have on Pennsylvania’s movie theaters. I look forward to seeing your comments there, and here’s the link to the webpage:

TheaterBuff1 on April 16, 2006 at 7:18 pm

It’s funny you should mention Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. For it appears a fabulous job was just done in restoring the Majestic Theatre there (which, incidentally, also had been designed by William Harold Lee.)

Nonetheless, I’m still concerned what gambling will do this state over all once it goes into effect. I know that in New Jersey’s case, when gambling became legal there it suddenly became like that was only true law there was. And what’s really strange right now is that a lot of places where they’re planning to introduce some of the state’s biggest casinos are not especially hurting financially. Which does make you wonder what the ultimate motive really is. For we the people of Pennsylvania never did have much of a say in the matter when it was decided whether Pennsylvania should head that direction or not. It all just sort of got shoved through one day.

lrrs16 on April 15, 2006 at 8:47 pm

Shamokin not only lost 3 theaters and mainstay bussness' but lost an amusment park and a skating rink to make way for a bigger school and a high class neighborhood for the teachers and doctors, yes progress can be good but not when it destroys history. There was a baseball park calld Maysville which is a over grown field ready for developement and alot of MLB & NLB players came from that park. Now downtown historical Kutztown is facing death ‘cuz the collage wants to expand and make student housing, Gettysburg is looking at moderizing, so I can’t agree with you more on whats going on.
The only thing I like for progress is that a junkyard was bought cuz of to many DEP fines for wastes etc. and is being utilized for a shopping mall across from Wal-Mart instead of destroying fresh land or destroying history.

TheaterBuff1 on April 14, 2006 at 7:29 pm

I hope I’m not the only citizen throughout this entire state of Pennsylvania who’s catching onto this, but if you ask me all efforts are underway to make this whole state of ours as crappy as possible. And with Philadelphia’s former mayor and now-governor Ed Rendell, in combination with Pennsylvania’s Speaker of the House John Perzel, leading the way in taking it in this downhill direction. And the piece d' resistance of this, of course, will all come once gambling gets underway in this state full force.

For I vividly remember how it was when gambling became legal in neighboring New Jersey. In that case gambling was made legal in Atlantic City only. But oh, did that whole state ever suffer for it! So it’s just to say the loss of the Victoria Theatre in Shamokin, Pennsylvania is just a mere foothill to what’s to come next. For in many ways our state at this moment is like the Titanic here. There’s a somewhat calm at this moment, but it’s not a realistic calm. The loss of the Victoria Theatre should serve as a harbinger of what’s to come next. And how prepared are any of us for that? Not at all from what I can tell. And right now it’s all looking very eerie to me. For we’re letting the best that Pennsylvania has slip away at the mercy of a governor, and a house speaker, in exhange for what will amount to absolutely nothing positive and worthwhile in return.

lrrs16 on March 27, 2006 at 9:17 pm

I have to admit that the Vic looked to be awsome in its day and I would love to see it still standing if i could have it my way. I love old buildings like that with history.
And the person who owned let it die purp. A heater was donated to heat the place, money granted,and so forth all was pocketed heater sold seats sold and then ran.
So in came Rite-Aid bought the Vic, JC Penny’s ( which was open yet)
made a damn parking lot in that location, then proceded in buying out Sun Ray Drugs ( could make a department store in for it’s size ) and Jupies restarant next it and put their store there. Insted of using the old Woolsworth building 2 doors down from their original location which is about the same size of what they built.
So Rite-Aid took 1 block and ahalf and killed the Vick and other store fronts instead. And it’s a shame ‘specailly when it was regesterd and not protected by the historic preserv.
I Know I helped demolish the ol’ gal and read the reports in our papers and I still hate myself.

RJS on March 27, 2006 at 2:44 am

Recently found some photos I took of the Victoria in 1985 and I’ve attached them here. The interior was in pretty poor condition at the time, but it was easy to see this was a real palace at one time. KenRoe mentioned the Majestic was next door but it must have been demolished long before I took this photo and a newer JC Penney built in its place. I understand both the Victoria and JC Penney are now gone.

View link

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Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 9, 2006 at 12:57 pm

The other theatre in the old postcard picture you posted on July 29, 2005 is the Majestic Theatre, 42 West Independence Street, Shamokin. It is listed in various editions of the Film Daily Yearbook with seating capacities given as 1,000 (1941) and 930 (1950).

RJS on July 29, 2005 at 7:13 am

I found a postcard image showing Independence Street in Shamokin and pasted the link below. You can see the Victoria to the right in the picture. The narrow theater entrance was located on a corner with the auditorium directly behind the lobby running along the side street. This postcard image also shows what looks like another theater directly next door. When I visited the Victoria in the late 1980’s, I believe a JC Penney was in that spot. It seems unlikely another theater would be right next door, but it has happened in other cities like York, PA. I think there was also a Capitol Theater in Shamokin but thought it was in the next block across the street. Perhaps someone reading this will know for sure.

View link

richardg on November 10, 2004 at 6:42 pm

This was a huge theatre for a town with a population of just 8000, although I understand at one time the population exceeded 40,000. I discovered this theatre (it still had the for sale sign on it) about two years before it was torn down. It had closed just briefly before that time but had been neglected for many years.
I climbed an exterior metal staircase and worked on an exit door until it opened. It had a domed ceiling and an immense balcony. Many of the balcony seats had been removed. The theatre offices were really cool and were on three different levels.
One of the major problems with the Victoria was that it could never be heated peroperly so it was usually closed during the winter months. The second to the last owner kept it open year around with the use of auxiliary propane heaters. A Shamokin native told me that you could barely hear the movie above the roar of the heaters. When seats needed replacing they robbed them from the balcony.
When I saw this once lovely theatre, the last 40 or so feet of the rear portion of building which contained the stage area had begun to separate from the rest of the building. It would have taken millions to make the building structuraly sound and millions more to restore its very faded beauty. I was saddened when I saw this theatre because I knew Shamokin didn’t have the funds to save their faded palace.
I returned the following year only to find fencing all around separated portion so a second inside visit was impossible. The following year the Victoria was demolished. This chain had a number of theatres and many of them were also called the Victoria. I have a number of pictures of the Victoria which I’ll post on my planned website before too long.