Archive for the ‘Theaters’ Category

Poli Palace, Majestic Theater and Savoy Hotel (1922)

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 Posted in Bridgeport, Hotels, Neoclassical, Theaters | 5 Comments »

Poli Palace, Majestic Theater and Savoy Hotel, Bridgeport

In downtown Bridgeport is a vacant and dilapidated 13-acre building complex, which occupies a city block. Ghost hunters are very interested in the building, which was possibly built on a Native American burial ground. The Beaux Arts structure, built in 1922, was once home to the Poli Palace, the Majestic Theater and the Savoy Hotel. The Poli Palace was built by theater impresario Sylvester Z. Poli as a vaudeville house. Mae West appeared at the theater in 1927. It was the largest theater in Connecticut and continued in use (later renamed Loew’s Palace Theater) until 1975. The Majestic Theater was smaller than the Poli Palace. It was in operation as a movie theater until 1971. Both theaters were designed by Thomas W. Lamb. Between the two theaters was the 109-room Savoy Hotel. In 1935 the Prohibition-era gangster and bootlegger Dutch Schultz moved to the Stratfield Hotel across the street for several months after two trials for tax evasion in New York State. It is wondered if he was involved in the murder of two people in the second floor lobby of the Savoy during this period. A month after leaving Bridgeport Dutch Shultz was gunned down in Newark, New Jersey. The city is seeking to redevelop the property.

Lyric Hall, New London (1898)

Friday, November 14th, 2014 Posted in Commercial Buildings, Neoclassical, New London, Theaters | No Comments »

Lyric Hall

At 243 State Street in New London is Lyric Hall, a commercial building with an auditorium on the second floor. Originally a theater, by the mid-twentieth century the auditorium space was being used for dance classes. The Classical Revival building was designed by architect James Sweeney of New London. The building has had various owners and been used for different purposes over the years. It has recently undergone restoration work and has very recent new owners.

Hoyt’s Theatre (1892)

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014 Posted in Norwalk, Renaissance Revival, Theaters | No Comments »

Hoyt's Theatre

Hoyt’s Theatre is a former music hall at 130 Washington Street in South Norwalk. It was built by I. Mortimer Hoyt, father of Ira Ford Hoyt, who also became a theatrical manager. As related in an article in The Norwalk Hour of February 3, 1922 (“Early Theatrical Days in Norwalk”):

Mr. Hoyt was manager for fourteen years of old Music hall . . . There came a day when he realized that a playhouse, in order to achieve a full measure of success, should be on the ground floor, easy of ingress and egress. The experience of getting scenery in and out of Music hall, frequently through third-story windows; the limited stage room for the production of some of the plays of that day; the two long flights of stairs leading to the auditorium, and still another flight to the gallery, were some of the difficulties Mr. Hoyt had to contend with. In 1890, after prolonged negotiations with the Marvin brothers for the land, he began the erection of Hoyt’s theater, which was formally opened in 1892, with Oliver Dowd Byron in “Across the Continent” as the attraction.

The theatre was first listed in the city directory in 1893 and by 1923 it was listed as the Rialto Theatre, operated by Warner Brothers as a movie house. The interior was remodeled in the Art Deco style in 1941. The theatre closed c. 1959-1961 and has since contained other businesses on the first floor with condominiums above. Read the rest of this entry »

Comstock Hall (1899)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014 Posted in Commercial Buildings, East Hartford, Neoclassical, Theaters | No Comments »

Comstock Hall, East Hartford

Located at 1175 (1171-1177) Main Street in East Hartford is Comstock Hall, built in 1899 to house a theater (later converted to a roller-skating rink and then demolished) and offices. The classically proportioned building was constructed by Lewis Comstock, a railroad engineer and descendant of an old East Hartford family. In 1926, Comstock erected an adjoining building to the south (1165-1169 Main Street, aka 2 Orchard Street). The two buildings are joined by a continuous first-floor storefront cornice, but the 1899 structure is taller and has a more elaborate classical revival design.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (1911)

Friday, June 6th, 2014 Posted in Colonial Revival, Old Saybrook, Public Buildings, Theaters | No Comments »

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center

Opened at 300 Main Street in Old Saybrook in 2009 is The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, named for the famous actress who lived in town. Before the building was restored to become a new cultural arts center, it had served from 1911 until 2004 as Old Saybrook’s Town Hall. Designed by New London architect James Sweeney, it was constructed in 1910-1911 to be the Old Saybrook Town Hall and Theater, with town offices in the raised basement and a theater above that was used both for performances and community gatherings. A driving force behind the building‘s construction was Joseph A. Cone, a printer, performer and musician, and the Old Saybrook Musical and Dramatic Club, which he had founded. Unfortunately, by the 1950s the old theater space had been subdivided for more town offices. Today it again serves its original purpose as a performance space.

Colonial Theater (1926)

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014 Posted in Colonial Revival, Commercial Buildings, Hartford, Theaters | No Comments »

Colonial Theater

One of Hartford’s movie palaces was the Colonial Theater at 488 Farmington Avenue. Built in 1926, the former theater has an elaborate Federal-style facade designed by architect James A. Tuck. Like other theaters of the period, the Colonial began as a venue for vaudeville before making the transition to motion pictures. In 1961 the theater was updated for Cinerama. After the theater finally closed in 1979, the building was used for retail shops until 2000, when the building was demolished except for the facade. It then took several years before a new building, housing the Churrascaria Braza restaurant, was built on the site utilizing the old facade. Intended to spark additional neighborhood development, the restaurant eventually closed in 2012.

Redmen’s Hall/Carberry Theater (1911)

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 Posted in Bristol, Military, Neoclassical, Organizations, Theaters | 1 Comment »

Former Redmen's Hall and Carberry Theater in Bristol

A chapter (called a “tribe”) of the Improved Order of Red Men was established in Bristol in 1890. The organization constructed a three-story brick meeting hall at 43 Prospect Street in Bristol in 1911. Designed by Walter Crabtree and built by B.H. Hubbard Co. of New Britain, the Redmen’s Hall had a state armory on the first floor and a meeting hall on an upper floor. Many town events were held in the hall in the early years of the twentieth century. In 1940 the building was renovated to become a movie theater called the Carberry Theater. The building is now owned by the Christian Fellowship Center.