The Victory Theatre opened on December 31, 1920 in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The 1,680 seat theater was built by Mowll & Rand, an architecture firm based out of Boston. The firm was also known for the design of the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, Massachusetts. The Victory was commissioned by the brothers Samuel and Nathan Goldstein of Western Massachusetts Theatres Incorporated.
The Goldsteins were considered pioneers in the motion picture industry. They spent the early 1900s operating nickelodeons — small storefront movie houses. The brothers, recognizing the increasing popularity of motion pictures, opened several larger theaters after World War I. The Victory’s name is itself a reference to the Allies’ victory during the war.
From its opening date, The Victory operated as a “combination house,” showing both films and vaudeville performances. With vaudeville’s decline in the early 1930s the Brothers discontinued the vaudeville performances in favor of the more popular motion picture screenings.
The Victory was damaged by a fire in 1942, and reopened after the damage was repaired. The theater closed permanently on December 15, 1978 due to declining ticket sales. The city took ownership of the theater soon after due to non-payment of taxes. In September 2008, the city of Holyoke transferred ownership of the theater to the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, who plan to renovate the theater and reopen it as a performing arts center.
The restoration of the Victory is being handled by DBVW Architects, a firm based in Providence, Rhode Island.
19 thoughts on “Victory Theatre”
Really great shots! I love the one of the staircase.
Thank you, Karen.
I hope it will be restored to it’s original glory. It is heartbreaking how this country has demolished so much beautiful architecture.
I’m so glad to see one that is actually being restored instead of demolished. Thank you for these posts I truly enjoy them and your photography is beautiful.
Thank you. I’m glad the Victory is getting restored as well.
It looks like the balcony was much closer to the stage than most other theaters. Was there an orchestra pit at the edge of the stage, and possibly an organ console lift? I see no sign of pipe organ remains. Were they already rescued?
There is an orchestra pit at the edge of the stage. I’m not sure if there was an organ console lift, but the organ was removed prior to the theater closing.
Douglas as Matt said there is an orchestra pit and chambers for organ pipes. We are working on aquiring a Mighty Wurlitzer which will lift from an expanded pit. Visit our site at http://www.mifafestival.org
I too am glad to see a restoration! It gives our little town theater a glimmer of hope that it can be done. Very thankful for your work Matt.
Thanks for Your blog, every Your trip, it’s pleasure: art, history and amazing photos
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Probably the greatest sound system ever made sitting on that stage…The Voice of the Theater.Hope it still works! Good luck to all!
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The pipe organ, after some roaming through different venues in Holyoke, is now beautifully secure and being played at the nearby Skinner Chapel…..
According to Cinema Treasures, the restoration hasn’t started. They’re about seven million short of what they need as of April of 2016. As money goes, that doesn’t seem like a whole lot but, the again, it ain’t my money. I’m hoping it happens.
Yeah, the restoration was delayed. IIRC, They’ve raised 20 something million already, so I’m confident they’ll get the rest.
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