Circle Arts Theatre

444 Connecticut Street,
Buffalo, NY 14213

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Circle Theatre. G. Morton Wolfe, Architect and Engineer.

The Circle Arts Theatre opened in 1914 as the Circle Theatre. The name was changed to the Circle Arts Theatre in 1962. The theatre closed a short time after the name change.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Eastsidekid on July 3, 2008 at 8:30 am

I know this is a year later than these posts, but here goes…
The Circle Art Theatre at 3170 Bailey Ave was run by a gentleman named Fred Keller. He bought/leased a theatre on Bailey about two doors from the corner of Berkshire and Bailey, and called it the Circle Art. This theatre was not the Varsity, that theatre was somewhere else in the same area. The last I saw, it had been turned into a plumbing supply house. If you turn on “street view” in Google, you can see that the building is still a theatre now called The Uptown Theatre. I will post more on Fred later. He was quite the guy!

Eastsidekid on July 3, 2008 at 10:12 am

Could have been, I only knew that particular theatre as the Circle Art. The Varsity was a standalone building, possibly on Grider? If it was a theatre again, it was after it was a plumbing store.

VilardoPrinting on April 21, 2009 at 1:31 pm

I am searching for photos of this beautiful Circle Arts Theater on Connectiuct Street and any stories or nostolgia you have for any shows. Please contact me at Vilardo

VilardoPrinting on April 21, 2009 at 1:32 pm

ooopsy the email is:


alknobloch on May 18, 2009 at 10:53 am

A friend of mine worked as usher and snackbar attendant in the earty 60’s here and stated that he eventually became sick from the smell of the rancid butter that he had to continually put on the popcorn!


Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on January 2, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Here’s a program from the Circle Theatre for the week of Sept. 19, 1921. It was owned by the General Theatres Corporation, and managed by O.T. Schroeppel.

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 16, 2010 at 5:29 am

We’ve been waiting a long time, but here it is: A photo of the Circle Theatre, from a portfolio of the works of architect G. Morton Wolfe in the August, 1916, issue of the trade journal The Ohio Architect, Engineer and Builder.

The architect appears to have been influenced by the arts and crafts and the prairie styles in designing the front of the Circle Theatre. It gives the building a vaguely Oriental look. It would be interesting to know what the original interior looked like.

But I’m not surprised that there has been some confusion over who actually designed the Circle Theatre. It is not at all characteristic of Wolfe’s work, most of which consisted of very strong, even austere, industrial buildings, and fairly straightforward commercial blocks with restrained detailing. Wolfe did design at least one other theater during this period, though; the first Strand Theatre in Erie, Pennsylvania, which had a splendid, ornate auditorium, though I haven’t found any photos of the front of that house.

LouB on March 24, 2012 at 9:13 am


The link above is the obituary for the former owner of this theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 25, 2012 at 3:24 am

The obituary LouB linked to says that the Circle Arts closed in 1963. This matches up with the claim on this web page, which also supports Eastsidekid’s memory of the former Varsity Theatre having been called the Circle Arts for a while:

“In early 1962 Fred Keller leased the theatre and renamed it the Circle Arts, and, as the new name implied, he specialized in European films. A year or so later he lost the lease and moved to the Varsity Theatre on Bailey and took the Circle Arts name with him.”
The obituary also notes that the former Circle Theatre now serves as a mosque.

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