FREE SHIPPING on all orders from RochesterSubway.com now thru December 23.*
Offer good on all items in the Gift Shop as well as with these great combo deals.
*Applies to U.S. and Canadian orders only. Excludes items from Zazzle.com. Local orders usually arrive within 1-2 business days!

Rochester Subway
Subscribe for Email UpdatesBecome a Facebook FanFollow Us on TwitterRSS Feed Rochester History + New Ideas. Fresh from the Rochester Subway.

Topics


Rochester Subway Gift Shop


¤ Visit the Gift Shop
¤ See Combo Deals & Offers


Modern Rochester Subway Map

Modern Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Neighborhoods Map

Rochester Neighborhoods Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Map, 1928

1928 Rochester Subway Map

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway DVD

The End of the Line - Rochester’s Subway (DVD)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Landmarks Poster

Rochester Landmarks Poster

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

Original Streetart by SPACEMAN

¤ View All Spaceman Art


Old Rochester Photos<br>and Historical Views

Old Rochester Photos
and Historical Views

(Framed Reprints Available)

¤ View All Rochester Photos


Rochester Subway Cap

Embroidered Subway Cap

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway T-Shirt

Rochester Subway T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester Subway Token T-Shirt

RTC Token T-Shirt

¤ View Details


Rochester RTC Token

RTC Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Roch. & Brighton Token

Roch. & Brighton Token
(1887-90)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Railway Co. Token

Rochester Railway Co. Token (1900-09)

¤ View Details

 | 

SOLD OUT


Rochester School Fare Token

School Fare Token (1948)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester NYS Railways Token

NYS Railways Token (1909-38)

¤ View Details

 | 

Add To Cart


Rochester Subway Poster + DVD Combo

Rochester Subway
Poster + DVD Combo

¤ 

Add To Cart

 (Save 10%)


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1941),
Rochester Rail Equipment

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1938),
Subway & Broad Street

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (1942),
Rochester City Hall & Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1912),
Rochester’s Four Corners

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1905),
Erie Canal Aqueduct

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway Vintage Postcard

Vintage Postcard (c.1928),
South Entrance to Subway

¤ View Details

 | 

Order Reprint

¤ See All Vintage Postcards


Rochester Subway + Trolley Transit Passes

Original Subway, Trolley,
and Bus Weekly Transit Passes

¤ View All Transit Passes





Loew’s Theater: Rochester’s Other Lost Movie Palace

October 11th, 2012

Loew's Rochester Theatre, Rochester. On the marquee: Greta Garbo, Charles Bickford, Maria Dressler in “Anna Christie” and on stage Barto and Mann, Harry Girard’s Ensemble, and A. Robbins. Photo by George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann. April 26, 1930. [PHOTO: George Mann of the comedy dance team, Barto and Mann. Via Brad Smith's Flickr Stream]
Earlier this week a collection of photos of Rochester’s RKO Palace Theater was discovered thanks to the Rochester Theater Organ Society. Mixed in with those RKO Palace photos were a few interior shots of Rochester’s other lost movie palace… Loew’s Theater. So I thought it only fair to shine the spotlight on this one too. Loew’s Theater also happened to be on Clinton Avenue, just four or five blocks south of the RKO. Xerox Tower external link now occupies the spot. Take a look…

Loew's Theatre, 120 South Clinton Avenue, on the east side of the street north of Court Street. A car parking lot is next to the theater. May 5, 1941. [PHOTO: Rochester Municipal Archives]
Loew’s Theatre, 120 South Clinton Avenue, on the east side of the street north of Court Street. A car parking lot is next to the theater. May 5, 1941. According to CinemaTreasures.org external link the theater opened in 1927 as part of the Schine’s chain, but soon became part of the Loew’s Inc. empire.

Ticket Booth in outer Lobby. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
Ticket Booth in outer Lobby. This and all photos below are from 1940.

Stairway to main lobby. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
Stairway to main lobby.

Main Lobby. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
Main Lobby.

Main Lobby. [PHOTO: D.O. Schultz / Rochester Theater Organ Society]
Main Lobby.

Not sure what this was. Anybody? [PHOTO: D.O. Schultz / Rochester Theater Organ Society]
Not sure what this was (above). Anybody?

Main Floor & Stage. 1940. With over 3,500 seats it was advertised as the largest theater in America between New York and Chicago. The auditorium featured bronze light fixtures, murals, leather upholstery for the box seats, and an enormous Marr & Colton organ. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
With over 3,500 seats it was advertised as the largest theater in America between New York and Chicago. The auditorium featured bronze light fixtures, murals, leather upholstery for the box seats, and an enormous Marr & Colton organ.

Balcony. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
Balcony.

Entry to balcony. [PHOTO: D.O. Schultz / Rochester Theater Organ Society]
Entry to balcony.

Men or women's Lounge. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]
Men’s or women’s lounge?

Men's or women's lounge. 1940. [PHOTO: Ossie Wieggel / George Eastman House]

The Loew’s Theater was to be renovated as part of a downtown redevelopment, but a local firm bought it and demolished it in 1964 to make way for the new Xerox headquarters.

Oh movie palace gods… can we PLEASE have just ONE of these back!?!

For anyone interested in pinpointing the exact location, here’s the 1935 plat map external link. Zoom in to the northeast corner of Court St. and Clinton, across from Washington Square Park.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 11th, 2012 at 8:19 am and is filed under Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

20 Responses to “Loew’s Theater: Rochester’s Other Lost Movie Palace”

  1. CM says:

    Just another example of public architecture that uplifed and enobled the soul of the “common man” in stark contrast with today’s non-architecture that crushes the soul and reminds us that we are more ordinary than we care to admit.

  2. yugo42 says:

    There are some good aerial shots of the place on the city’s Midtown historical photo collection. Here it is front and center!

    http://cityofrochester.smugmug.com/Projects/Midtown/Midtown-Historical-Photos/13711818_hD4fF2#!i=1002296897&k=pZ7jGtr

  3. @yugo42, that is a really great aerial shot. You can see how the lobby was situated in relation to the auditorium and it looks like storefronts wrapped all the way around the Clinton & Court St sides. Such a great use of urban space!

    And then note all the parking lots closing in on it from all sides. In the background you can even see the land that was cleared for the construction of the Inner Loop. It was all downhill from that point on. Thanks for sharing!

  4. yugo42 says:

    Oh yeah, I hadn’t noticed the Inner Loop wasteland back there! The other interesting thing you can see (relating to one of your earlier posts) on the left side is the Seneca Hotel and it’s tall tower addition mixed among the buildings that were incorporated into Midtown.

  5. Yes! That’s the one. And there’s the big old (demolished) YMCA building in the upper right corner.

  6. joe says:

    Wow what a shame. Cities in Germany survived carpet bombing better than Rochester went through urban renewal. Scary to think what could have happened had other plans been put in place. And people wonder why there is a very vocal group when buildings are put in the sights on the wrecking ball, we can’t afford to lose anymore. We’ve already destroyed so much

  7. @Joe, I couldn’t have said that better myself. Amen.

  8. sally says:

    Mike – great pics! I think the gods may have heard you because we do still have at least one stunning old movie house – Eastman Theatre. It was originally built as a movie palace. The renovation done a couple years ago really shows off the gorgeous detail that went into that place. I always sit in the balcony so i can stare at that crazy beautiful chandelier!

  9. BUT I WANT THESE ONES TOO! WAAAAH!

    Seriously though, you’re right Sally. Eastman Theater is a gem. And while we’re counting our blessings, Dryden Theater is probably my favorite place to take in a movie – anywhere. If you haven’t been I’d recommend checking out “Silent Tuesdays” this fall.

  10. Dayna says:

    As a 20-something in Rochester, I still love hearing my grandmas stories about “going to the show” and appreciate sites like this that keep the history alive. Wish we still had theatres like this today! Does anyone know anything about the free gifts/collectible a that were given to movie-goers at that time? I have a collection of dishes from my grandma that she and her mother collected from each visit to a theatre in Rochester (not sure which one).. I’m trying to find out more about them. Any info is appreciated!

  11. Bob Williams says:

    Monsieur Subway,

    To the left of that YMCA about a block is a small steeple (now Halo lofts). Directly behind that was ol’ Mrs. Begy’s prohibition saloon as it appears the Chestnut extension hadn’t annihilated Stillson Street yet.

  12. Russ Shaner says:

    To answer “Dayna”, ‘back in the day’ it was common for the theaters to have a ‘dish night’ at least once a week where dishes and other things would be given away during the ‘show’. Her dishes could have come from any one of the major theaters. The Palace, Loew’s, etc were more than a place to view a movie. Talent shows were held at the Palace and were broadcast on local radio. For several years, Tom Grierson, the house organist at the Palace played the mighty Wurlitzer live on the radio every week. Stage acts were part of the theater-going experience from 1928 when the RKO Palace opened, pretty much up until WW2 began.
    Incidentally, contrary to what many believe, the organ at the RKO was never used to accompany silent films. The Palace opened with talking movies and never showed silent features. The organ was used to accompany stage acts, to ‘play’ audiences in and out, play during intermissions and for ‘spotlight solos’. The movie palaces were the major entertainment venues for the general public before TV upset the applecart.

  13. Brian Kelly says:

    For a time, my father, a very young announcer at WHAM, did the voiceovers for the *silent* newsreels at Loew’s.

    I have read elsewhere that Loew’s Rochester was not considered one of the architectural *gems* of the Loew’s theatrical empire. My recollection is that Loew’s had a rather *cold* feel to it, unlike the warmth of the Palace (which,I believe,
    had a lot more gingerbread).

    Anybody remember the Paramount or Regent? And let’s not forget those two dungeons, the RKO Temple and the Strand.

  14. Russ Shaner says:

    Brian,
    I lived here in late 60 thru the Spring of 61 as an RIT student. I attended only one movie at Loew’s (Liz Taylor in ‘Butterfield 8′) and recall my impression that while large, it was not as ‘inviting’ at the Palace. Others I have talked to seem to share that feeling. When I returned to Rochester in 1964 Xerox Square was under construction on the site. Having visited many Loew’s houses over the years I can attest that the Rochester was definitely not in the ‘deluxe’ category. It was built by the Lafayette Theatre Corp of Buffalo and A.A. Fenevessey and opened as the “Rochester” pn Nov. 5th, 1927. It became part of the “Loew’s” chain in 1934.
    I visited the Paramount only a couple of times and recall that it was strangely laid out. When enteringthrough the main Clinton Ave lobby one entered at the side of the auditorium with the seats facing to the left. It opened in 1915 as the Picadilly and had 2,250 seats. Around 1934 it was renamed the Century and became the Paramount on March 4, 1948.
    I led a crew that removed the Wurlitzer organ from the Regent Theater in 1973. That was an earlier house of 1800 seats, opening on Nov. 10th,1914. The interior was finished in rich Mahogany with side walls, proscenium , boxes and ceiling in old rose, old ivory and gold. At the end, I believe it had the interior painted in a very drab monotone with all of the original decorative detail being covered, although there was an interesting mural in the ceiling proscenium above the stage. A couple of interesting facts – it originally was wired for DC electricity. The original DC motors for the two organ blowers were still there when the building came down. It was originally coal heated. It had the filthiest organ chambers I have ever seen.

  15. @Russ, thanks for all the great information about these theaters. I can’t wait to hear that RKO Wurlitzer organ played on November 18 at the Auditorium!

    You mentioned a couple theaters in your comment above, so for those of us who weren’t fortunate enough to see them in the flesh, here is the Regent Theater (now a parking lot at East & Chestnut)…

    And the Picadilly/Century/Paramount (where Mortimer St. Parking Garage is today)…

    Now check this out, I also found this photo of Loews Star Theater (73 N. Clinton) which I believe would have been on very same site as the RKO Palace!

    You can see the painted billboard on the side of the Michaels Stern building in the background. This theater was occupied by Gordon’s Photo Play House until 1920. It housed Loew’s Star Theatre from 1920-1926, and was vacant by 1927-28.

  16. ds felice says:

    It would be interesting to see an area street map of downtown Rochester with all the locations of the theaters depicted, and perhaps train stations as well.

  17. Russ Shaner says:

    I am familiar with the above photo of the Loew’s Star. According to my sources, it opened in 1909 as “Gordon’s Photoplay House”, was renamed “Gordon’s Theatre” in 1917 and became “Loew’s Star” in 1920. I don’t know what the seating capacity was. The Albert Stone photo was taken in 1922. The building was razed in 1926. It housed a four-manual Moller organ (Opus 1493, ca. 1910) which was moved to the Monroe Avenue Methodist Church and was destroyed when the church burned down in the 1960s. As you can tell by the picture, it abutted the Michaels Stern building, ran along Clinton where the present 7 story building is today and the south end (where the angled entrance was) was approximately where the Clinton Avenue entrance lobby of the RKO Palace was located. If you drive by the site today you will see the excavated basement of yet another building that ran south along clinton to the corner of Mortimer. Does anyone know what building that was and when it existed??

  18. Russ,
    First, my family and I had a fantastic time at the R.T.O.S concert yesterday. That old RKO Palace Wurlitzer Organ has one hell of a set of pipes! What a great privilege it was to be able to share that experience with my kids. Thank you!

    Now, here’s a look at the evolution of the corner of Clinton and Mortimer. You were right… it was a Masonic Temple!


    1888 – Empty


    1900 – Empty


    1910 – F.&A.M. Auditorium and Temple


    1918 – Masonic Temple

    The temple was built in 1901-1902. In the photo above you can see the RKO Palace entrance sneaking into the right edge of the shot.

    In 1932 the building was razed for a parking lot…


    1935 – Parking Lot

  19. Rich Rolwing says:

    Love those aerial photos of the Midtown area. No.
    1 still shows Monroe Avenue running all the way to Washington Square Park at the lower right. Apropos of this once existent reality of the cityscape I wonder what people thought when they were watching such vast swaths of familiar urban streetscapes extinguished and changed forever.

  20. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Another beautiful Theater we all enjoyed in our day. Outstanding like the Palace Theater. We didn’t have television back in those days so we didn’t miss that. But we had the joy of going downtown for a outing and seeing a great movie and after that went to one of our great restaurant to eat.


Post a Comment...



  You May Also Like...
  Most Popular...
  1. Boy Lived in NYC Subway for 11 Days
  2. Pot Holds Bowie in Rochester
  3. Inside Rochester's Terrence Tower
  4. University of Rochester's Lost Swimming Pool
  5. Rewind: High Speed Rail Art from 2002
  6. The Old Barber House
  7. Rochester Mafia, the Banana King, and the Infamous "Barrel Murder"
  8. Rochester's 7th Most Beautiful Train Station in the U.S.
  9. RGRTA Digs Up Rochester's Old RKO Palace Theater
  10. Subway Tunnel To Be Filled. This time they mean it. Probably.
  11. A 100 Ton Discovery at the Port of Rochester
  12. 1906 Panorama and More Old Photos of Rochester, NY
  13. Rundel Library on Ghost Hunters: 'Due Date with Death'
  14. Exploring the Caves of Rochester, NY
  15. Never Before Seen Photos of RKO Palace Theater
  16. Genesee Brewery to Demolish This Building
  17. What Is This Strange Water Feature?
  18. Rochester 2020 - Rail vs. Fast Buses?
  19. Rochester's Case for a Streetcar
  20. Irondequoit Square
  21. Drunk Woman Nearly Flattened by Boston Subway Train
  22. Rochester's (inspiring) Old Railroad Stations
  23. ROC Low Line: A (new) Proposal for Rochester's Abandoned Subway
  24. A Better Bus Stop Sign for Rochester
  25. Inside the Iola Tuberculosis Sanatorium
  26. Give Me City Gate
  27. History of Seabreeze Amusement Park
  28. Inside the Pulaski Library
  29. A Tour of Rochester's Times Square Building
  30. Loving Life at Erie Harbor Apartments
  31. Does Rochester Have a Parking Problem?
  32. Fortified Rochester
  33. Imagine, Rochester's Historic Brewery Square
  34. Manhattan Square Park Mural Erased
  35. Who is Spaceman?

Topics

  • Art + Culture (78)
  • Events (71)
  • Freebies (9)
  • Interviews (30)
  • Opinion (89)
  • Reader Submitted Stories (88)
  • Rochester Destinations (68)
  • Rochester Gifts (17)
  • Rochester History (159)
  • Rochester Homes for Sale (4)
  • Rochester Images (170)
  • Rochester News (239)
  • Rochester Subway (43)
  • Rochester Subway Stories (12)
  • Subways Around the Globe (9)
  • Train/Railroad Stuff (35)
  • Transit + Infrastructure (148)
  • Uncategorized (1)
  • Urban Development (185)
  • Urban Exploration (34)

  • Rochester Subway Information

    Get Email Updates...
    Stay up-to-date on Rochester-related stories, artifacts, and ideas that you won't find in the mainstream news. Totally free, never spammy, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


    ¤ See Past Issues
    ¤ Our Privacy Policy

    Links

    Get Involved...

    ¤ Reconnect Rochester

    Related Blogs...

    ¤ A Town Square
    ¤ Moderate Urban Champ
    ¤ Our Tiny Earth
    ¤ The Rochesterian
    ¤ RocVille
    ¤ Rust Wire

    Resources...

    ¤ RochesterDowntown.com
    ¤ Rochester's Public Library
    ¤ ROCwiki



    Want to Advertise
    on RocSubway?
    Drop us a line.


    Other ways to follow RochesterSubway.com...

    Subscribe for Email Updates

    Email

    Become a Facebook Fan

    Facebook

    Follow Us on Twitter

    Twitter

    RSS Feed

    RSS

    Questions + Comments

    For questions about the Rochester Subway Poster or about your order, please email info@rochestersubway.com.

    Want to SAVE Shipping Costs?
    Buy the Subway Posters at these local shops...

    About the Rochester Subway Poster...

    ¤ Black Radish Studio [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Parkleigh [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Poster Art [ ...map it ]
    ¤ Rochester Public Library Store [ ...map it ]

    ¤ Rochester Subway Poster Press Release
    ¤ Article by Otto M. Vondrak
    ¤ Design by Mike Governale

    More About The Rochester Subway

    Help Support...

    ¤ Rochester Subway (Wikipedia)
    ¤ The End of the Line - Rochester's Subway, DVD
    ¤ Abandoned Subway Photos (Opacity.us)
    ¤ Walking the Rails (YouTube Video)

    ¤ Friends of RochesterSubway.com