Ohmann Theatre

65 William Street,
Lyons, NY 14489

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Special thanks to Doris Greco whose kindness in supplying supplemental information has enabled me to submit a much more detailed history of the Ohmann Theatre.

The Ohmann Theatre opened its doors on December 3, 1915. The theatre originally sat 800 on the main floor and 175 in the balcony.

The theatre is a blend of many styles. It’s oak railings exemplify Mission influence while the post supported marquee could be Victorian.

The three biggest drawing films at the Ohmann were, “Gone With The Wind”, “Jaws” (this was amazing because the Ohmann couldn’t get a print until two years after its release} and the world premiere of “The Lady in White”. This was filmed on location in Lyons and some cameos of the Ohmann theatre are shown.

In 1980, the Ohmann family sold the theatre to Dave Reynolds and Thomas Crowley who kept it going until 1993. They closed it after they built their new five-plex (now a six-plex} just seven miles away in the town of Newark. It was sold by them in 2004 for $1.00 plus back taxes to Perkins who almost immediately sold it to Bob Ohmann, the grandson of the original owner.

Bob Ohmann has become a sucessful businessman in North Carolina but hasn’t forgotten Lyons. I understand he’s donated significant monies to Lyons. He is totally funding the rumored $1.4 million restoration of the theatre and movies will remain a part of the “big picture” for the theatre.

Ohmann has hired Chrisanntha Inc. who overseered the historic restoration of Geneva’s, Smith Opera House. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

Contributed by Richard Grows

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

richardg
richardg on November 19, 2004 at 4:34 pm

I first saw the Ohmann theatre about two years after it had been shuttered. The for sale sign was still affixed to the building so naturally I called. The agent (I believe the listing term probably had expired) put me directly in touch with Dave Reynolds — one of two owners. Dave and I talked for maybe 15 minutes at which time I had decided it would have been very difficult for me to turn the Ohmann into a successful operation. The first red flag was, why didn’t they keep the Ohmann operating along with the new five-plex they just built. The second red flag was, why didn’t they build the new complex in Lyons which (I not positive of this, but appearances would indicate it to be fact) has a larger population base than Newark. Finally, Lyons, like many originally manufacturing based towns, looked like it was having difficult times. Memory tells me the asking price for the Ohman in 1994 or 1995, was $37,000.
It was a lot of theatre for a small price. If, however, crowds are small, the last thing you want is a lot of theatre.
To me, the Lyons of today looks better than it did ten years ago so let’s hope the new Ohmann theatre is a success.

Ohmann
Ohmann on November 30, 2004 at 9:10 pm

I hear the Ohmann Theatre is being remodeled by the origial family. I also hear that the Re-Grand opening will be in 2005.
Is ithe oldest theatre in Western N.Y.?

Ziggy
Ziggy on January 31, 2005 at 12:27 pm

I visited this theatre in the 1970’s when they had a special showing of “Tillie’s Punctured Romance” with live organ accompaniment. I believe the organ was an electronic model with a console built to resemble that of a real theatre organ, and it sounded good! You would have sworn it was an actual pipe organ. I remember the theatre still had it’s original marquee, and the oak doors going to the auditorium had oval glass panels in them. I glad to hear it will be opening again. I’ll have to visit when I go home for the summer.

Ohmann
Ohmann on May 1, 2005 at 9:07 am

Ohmann Theatre update:

New projection system – Film and DVD capabilities

New Sound – Special suround -stereo- digital

New stage sound with a special mixing board –

New Lighting Special stage and Spot lighting

New seating in lower auditorium – original Irwin seats decorative panels-same look today as 1915.

Balcony seating to be refurbished original seats

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