Over the years, I’ve come across a number of vintage photographs while researching blog posts for After the Final Curtain. One resource is the Theatre Historical Society of America‘s American Theatre Architecture Archive. With their permission I was able to combine our photographs to create these “rephotographs” showcasing a glimpse of what I have seen over the years. The composite of these images illustrates the rise and fall of these buildings and the potential for what they could become again, if restored.
The before photograph of the RKO Keith’s Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2011, twenty-five years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Loew’s Kings Theatre was taken in 1929, and the after was taken in 2010, thirty-three years after it closed.
The before photograph of the RKO Hamilton Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, fifty-three years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Loew’s Palace Theatre was taken in the 1930s, and the after was taken in 2011, thirty-six years after the theater closed.
The before photograph of the Proctor’s Palace Theatre was taken in 1955, and the after was taken in 2010, forty-two years after the theater closed.
A portion of sales from this limited edition print run will benefit the Theatre Historical Society of America and support their mission to document and celebrate the history of America’s theatres. For more information — check out their website at www.historictheatres.org
The Proctor’s Troy Theatre opened as the Proctor’s Fourth Street Theatre on November 23, 1914 in Troy, NY. It was designed by architect Arlard Johnson and built by the Charles P. Boland Company for F. F. Proctor. The 2,283 seat theater cost $325,000 to build and was the largest of Proctor’s theaters in New York State when it opened. The building is five stories tall and in addition to the theater, contains space for offices and retail.
Located on the top of Proctor’s Palace Theatre, Proctor’s Palace Roof Theatre also opened on November 22, 1915. The Palace was originally used for smaller vaudeville productions before switching over to film at around the same time as its downstairs counterpart.
After the switch, the Roof Theatre was rarely used and eventually reopened in the early 1960s as the Penthouse Cinema, mainly showing foreign films like Ingmar Bergman’s “Secrets of Women.”
RKO Proctor’s Theatre opened in Newark, NJ on November 25, 1915 as the Proctor’s Palace Theatre. The architect was John W. Merrow, the nephew of Proctor theater circuit owner Frederick F. Proctor.
The Palace was a double decker theater, which meant that one auditorium was stacked on top of the other, a rare design choice at the time. The lower, street-level auditorium had 2,300 seats and the upper had around 900. The space was among the largest and most open in the area, leading the city to use it as the site of it’s 250th anniversary celebration in 1916.
I’ve been exploring and photographing abandoned buildings for several years,
but nothing has fascinated me more than abandoned theaters. After the Final Curtain is a photographic documentary about neglected and abandoned theaters throughout America. Through this project I’m hoping to generate a greater collective awareness of the stories behind these majestic structures and assist any organization that plans to restore them.
The posts will range from general history, to interviews with people who are involved with restoration efforts or were somehow associated with the theaters when they were open.
Here are some examples of theaters that will be featured in upcoming posts