We had all paid $55 each to photograph the old Lansdowne Theater, had been forewarned that there would be no heating and that it would be cold inside.
The Lansdowne Theater opened in 1927 showing a silent movie, Knockout Riley, It seated 1300 and featured a Moorish style architecture with bright colored paint and brocades. With its painted ceiling, chandeliers and the most impressive center light, it is still a magnificent spectacle when you first walk through the lobby into the auditorium. The colors have faded with paint curls scrolling down the walls, plaster dropping and leaving empty colorless crevices, but for the most part it's easy to imagine how this looked in its hey day. It has stood the test of time well.
The theater was closed in 1987 for cosmetic repairs but when a fire broke out in the basement of some of the retail stores that were part of the building, the electrical system was badly damaged. Due to lack of finances the building languished until 2007 when the Historic Lansdowne Theater Corporation purchased it and continued with repairs with the help of grants. Their website is here, and they have repaired the roof and added a fire detection system.
The theater continues to host events to help raise money for further restoration, something the local community is eager to help with. They have restored the outdoor ticket booth and started work in the lobby. They have even found the original organ in Arizona waiting to be repaired so it can be played again. I hope it finds its way home.
The theater also has a Facebook page here.
We left the theater and walked outside to a lovely warm day where we blinked hard in the sunlight. Lunch was had at a local diner and then we drove to the quay to look at the U.S. United States, an old liner that's waiting for its own restoration work to begin.
It was dark as we headed home so no real urbexing was done apart from a quick stroll around the grounds of an old rayon factory that we'd been to a few years ago. Another place that we have on our list to revisit.