10 Incredible Abandoned Theaters Around The USA

Loew’s Kings Theatre Brooklyn, NY – Formerly Loew’s Kings Theatre, is a movie palace-type theater located at 1025 Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York City. Opened in 1929 and closed since 1977, the theater is scheduled to reopen in 2014 following a complete renovation. The City of New York announced on February 2, 2010 a $70 million renovation of to be completed in partnership with a private developer, ACE Theatrical Group of Houston. ACE has previously overseen major restorations of a number of historic theaters including the Boston Opera House. The plans call for the Kings’s interior spaces to be restored to their 1929 appearance. Its stage facilities are to be completely rebuilt to modern standards, accommodating some 250 performances a year. [Source]

Lyric Theater in Birmingham, AL – Opened on January 14, 1914 the Lyric would present B.F. Keith Big Time Vaudeville from 1914 until the opening of the Ritz Theatre in 1926. The 1926 Ritz Theatre opening and the depression took their toll on the Lyric. Over the years the theatre woud gradualy decline. In the late 1950’s the Lyric closed its doors. The lobby would be used for retail space and the theatre would be vacant. In 1972, a group of young businessmen reopened the Lyric as the Grand Bijou Theatre showing classic movies ( I was 6 at that time). After the Grand Bijou closed, the Lyric Theatre ended it operation as the Foxy and later Roxy Adult Cinema. Plans are to raise the money and completely restore the theatre in time for its 100th anniversary in January 2014. [Source]

The Shore Theatre in Coney Island, NY – The Shore Theatre opened as the Loew’s Coney Island Theatre on June 17, 1925. The 2,387 seat theater was built by the Chanin Construction Company, which was also known for the construction of the now demolished Roxy Theatre in Manhattan. The theater was designed to be a combination house, showing both vaudeville and motion pictures, but eventually phased out the vaudeville performances. By the early 1970’s, the Shore had turned to exploitation and eventually adult films. The theater closed permanently in March of 1973. The seats on the main level were removed and the floor was leveled to convert the space into a bingo hall. The Shore Theatre facade was declared a historical landmark by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 14, 2010. The inside of the theater is not landmarked, and could be demolished. [Source]

Tower Theater in San Francisco, California – The once vibrant Tower Theater was, until recently, basically falling apart, but has been partially restored throughout the years. This theater was originally built in 1911 along Mission Street in San Francisco and was a big part of the city’s popular theater scene. The building was used as a church up until 2007 when it became completely abandoned and is now up for sale.

Loew’s Majestic Theatre in Bridgeport, CT – Opened on September 4, 1922, the 3,642 seat theater was the biggest movie theater in Connecticut, and remains the largest of Bridgeport’s theaters. The walls of the Palace are covered with frescoes of formal Italian gardens painted by Hans Lehman. After years as a predominantly vaudeville and silent film theater, the Palace began showing major motion pictures after it was sold to the Loew’s theater chain in 1934. Due to a decline in ticket sales the Loew’s corporation sold the building in the early 1970’s. After showing adult films for a few years, the Palace closed permanently in 1975. Since its closing, the interior of the Palace has been used as a set in movies, including the recent “All Good Things,” a 2010 film starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst. The Palace Theatre is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the city of Bridgeport hopes to one day restore the theater to its former glory. [Source]

The RKO Keith’s Theatre in Flushing, Queens – Opened Christmas Day, 1928 was designed by Thomas W. Lamb, an architect known for his theater designs, which can also be seen in New York’s Ziegfeld Theatre. The Keith’s was designed in the Spanish Baroque Revival style and had 2974 seats. The ceiling was painted a deep blue so that clouds seemed to move across the ceiling, making it look like clouds floating across the night sky. The lobby of the Keiths was given landmark status in 1984 – since then, the Keith’s has been in a state of disrepair. A plan was recently approved that proposes to tear down the auditorium and replace it with a 17-story tower that houses 357 apartments, a senior center and retail space. Of the original architecture, only the lobby and ticket booth will be saved. [Source]

Proctor’s Troy Theatre in Troy, NY – Opened on November 23, 1914 in Troy, NY 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. Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, Fred and Adele Astaire were just some of the acts who came to the Proctor’s over the years. During the 1960′s the theater began playing second run films. When it closed in 1977, less than 40 people attended the final movie screening. In 2000, the Friends of the Proctor’s Troy Theater was formed to raise public awareness about the theater and to try to restore it as a performing arts center. It was later sold to Columbia Development Companies, who currently plan to abate the theater and preserve it until it can be fully restored. [Source]

Loew’s 46th Street Theatre in Brooklyn, NY – Opened on October 9, 1927 there were 25,000 people present for the opening of the theater. The 2,675 seat theater was designed to look like a night sky in an Italian garden. The illusion was completed with a projection of clouds across the ceiling. Many famous bands played shows at the theater during the years it was a concert venue including; The Byrds, The Grateful Dead, Jerry Lee Louis, The Bee Gees, Steely Dan, Gladys Knight and the Pips and Randy Newman. In 1973, the theater was closed due to pressure from the local community, who felt that the concerts were causing too much noise. The building was then sold in 1974 to a furniture company. The stage was removed from the auditorium and it was converted into a storeroom for surplus furniture. The lobby was converted into a show room. It was sold again to the current owners Regal Furniture in 1996. [Source]

The Victory Theatre in Holyoke, Massachusetts – Opened on December 31, 1920 the 1,680 seat theater was built because of the increasing popularity of motion pictures. 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. 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. Construction began in June 2012. [Source]

Moss and Brill’s Hamilton Theatre in Manhattan, NY – Opened on January 23, 1913 the theater was commissioned by vaudeville operator Benjamin S. Moss and theater developer Solomon Brill. With the decline of vaudeville, Moss retired and sold the theater in 1928. The theater was then converted into a motion picture theater, one of the first in New York City. After its partial closure in 1958, the auditorium was used as a sports arena and a disco. In 1965 the building was purchased by a church, and was later sold in the mid 1990’s. The lobby was converted into a retail space and the auditorium was last used as a warehouse for a beer and liquor wholesaler. The theater is currently unused; there are no plans for re-purposing or renovation. [Source]

The Paramount Theatre in Newark, NJ – Opened on October 11, 1886 as H.C. Miner’s Newark Theatre. It was originally a vaudeville house managed by Hyde & Behman Amusement Co., a Brooklyn based theater Management Company. The original seating capacity was 1,900; after the remodeling was completed an additional 103 seats were added. In 1932, when vaudeville’s popularity began to diminish, the owners struck a deal with Paramount-Publix (now known as Paramount Pictures) to start showing movies. The Paramount Theatre closed on March 31, 1986 due to an increase in insurance rates. In the years since the 1986 closing the lobby area has been reused as an Army/Navy surplus store and other similar pop-up retail stores. The current plans for a multi-use entertainment complex on the lot call for the auditorium to be demolished. Only the front facade will remain. [Source]

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