Auburn Schine Theater

12-14 South Street,
Auburn, NY 13021

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Showing 51 - 75 of 80 comments

Rocco5 on April 21, 2007 at 8:59 am

The city of Auburn once boasted four working theaters in the 1940s. Many older folks in town say that the Schine was only the third nicest theater in Auburn. There were at least two other older theaters in the city which were much more beautiful in their time.

Sadly, the Schine theater has been an eyesore in the heart of Auburn’s downtown for the last 40 years. It contributes to the poor and economically depressed appearance of a once beautiful city.

People in Auburn have talked about repairing the Schine for over 15 years, but it looks the same, if not worse now (2007) than it did in 1992. The owner put some new doors on the theater a few months ago, and that is the only noticeable improvement to the theater in the last 40 years. If folks were serious about restoring the Shine theater, the restoration work should have been completed or at least in a more advance stage by now. It is sad, but this theater is practically beyond repair.

If people visiting the Finger Lakes region want to see an Eberson-designed theater in nice condition they ought to take a short, half hour drive north to Oswego, NY. One can even take in a movie at the Eberson theater in Oswego while they are there.

JohnMessick on January 29, 2007 at 3:32 pm

The photos from the website are cool. Now this is beyond a shadow of doubt, a movie palace!!

elisahunt on January 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Go to the website, they currently unveiled the restored doors, ticket booth and poster cases. Enjoy!!

Patsy on December 23, 2006 at 5:18 pm

Lost Memory: The current function is certainly “vacant/not is use” after seeing it boarded up and looking like it needed some TLC this summer.

Patsy on December 23, 2006 at 5:17 pm

After visiting the City of Auburn I can report that the Auburn has not been restored so don’t know the current status.

Patsy on July 27, 2006 at 9:21 am

I’ll be visiting Auburn in the near future and will have a look-see at the Auburn Theatre. I hope that restoration has been started on this art deco EBERSON theatre.

alanmac on January 30, 2006 at 8:09 am

I saw my first movie, Fantasia,at the Auburn Schine Theater in the late 30’s. During WWll I’d sit thru the movies twice, seven rows from the front and seven seats in. I’d have the planets on either side of me and the shooting stars above.. I couldn’t wait until I was old enouth to get a job there and was an usher from 1953 until 1955.I love the place and I’m so glad they are renovating it.

Patsy on September 9, 2005 at 6:54 am

TC: If you come upon any interior photos, please post.

Patsy on September 9, 2005 at 6:53 am

Thanks for the photos…..sure is art deco and sure is worth restoring for one reason…..the name Eberson!

teecee on August 25, 2005 at 4:29 am

I visited this theater on 8/21/05. The horizontal marquee has been stabilized but is still home to a few pigeons. The lobby is still being cleaned up from the asbestos. Looks like a lot of work to be done but the exterior appears very stable. Wonder if they plan to restore the vertical marquee, which is not currently attached to the building. Love the hot green accents, which can’t be seen too well in the posted links.
I took some exterior photos that I’ll post shortly.

Patsy on August 2, 2005 at 12:40 pm

I tried the personal email address for “Jake” and it was undeliverable, but did visit the site and found someone else to contact plus ordered a brochure which covers the Schine, the Willard Chapel, etc. Thanks TC!

Patsy on August 2, 2005 at 12:04 pm

I see where this link was posted and also a personal email so will try both of those routes and get back to this forum asap!

Patsy on July 31, 2005 at 12:24 pm

TC: We didn’t get to spend any additional time in Auburn as our trip actually only took us to nearby Skaneateles…that town being was our final destination, but we do plan to return and see the City of Auburn and another Schine theatre as there were many in the western NYS area under that name i.e. Palace in Lockport NY. The website shows that the theatre was very art deco in its day. Did find out that Auburn had, at one time, 4 THEATRES over the years!

teecee on July 30, 2005 at 2:37 pm

Did you make your trip yet? Can you get inside? I am going to this area in August and the theaters in Ithaca/Geneva/Auburn are on my itinerary.

Patsy on February 25, 2005 at 5:13 pm

KenRoe: Thanks so very much as my favorite decor is ART DECO and my favorite theatre architect is EBERSON!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 25, 2005 at 4:50 pm

Here is list taken from the text of the Theatre Historical Sociaety of America 1989 Annual; ‘Glitz, Glamour & Sparkle’ The Deco Theatres of John Eberson by Jane Preedy

Status of each theatre as per Cinema Treasures, if listed.

Paramount Publix Theatre, Nashville, Tennessee (1929) Closed/Demolished
Warner’s Madison Theatre, Morgantown, West Virginia (1929) Open/Movies
Harris Theatre, Butler, Pennsylvania (1929)
Status Unknown (was shown as 600 seats-closed in 1941 F.D.Y.B.)
Madison Theatre, Mansfield, Ohio (1930)
Status Unknown (1,500 seats in the F.D.Y.B. 1941)
Beverly Theatre, Washington DC (1935)
Penn Theatre, Washington DC (1935)
Dixie Theatre, Staunton, VA (1936)
Open/Movies (3 screens)
Silver Theatre, Silver Spring, Washington DC (1938)
Boro Theatre (Bethesda), Bethesda, MD (1938)
Closed/Theatre Cafe ..National Register Listed
Lane Theatre, Staten Island, New York (1938)
Auburn Schine Theatre, Auburn, NY (1938)
Newsreel Theatre (Guild), Rockerfeller Center, New York (1938) Closed/Retail
Earl Theatre (Eagle), Jackson Heights-Queens, New York (1938)
Open/Asian movies
Perry Theatre, Pittsburgh, PA (1938)
Status Unknown
Nostrand Theatre, Brooklyn, New York (1939?)
College Theatre, Brooklyn, New York (1939?)
Closed/Retail & Care Center
Schine’s Oswego Theatre, Oswego, NY (1940)
Open/Movies (7 screens)… National Register Listed
Astor Theatre, Philadelphia, PA (1940)

AUBSCHINE on February 25, 2005 at 11:34 am

John Eberson is best known for the atmospheric theater design. There are fewer Art Deco designs of his. He designed an Art Deco Theater in Bethesda, MD that was also built in the late 1930’s.

We are unsure of the exact number of Art Deco theaters designed by him. We also are unsure of the number of them that still exist today. We would appreciate any citable information regarding these numbers.

Patsy on February 25, 2005 at 10:00 am

And this summer I plan to make a trip to Skaneateles for a vintage boat show and will be traveling through Auburn enroute to Skan. so will most definitely stop and look at the Schine. It will truly ‘shine’ when restoration is completed!

Patsy on February 25, 2005 at 9:58 am

Were there many Eberson/Art Deco theatres built? Most of the Eberson theatres that I’ve been reading about on this site are Eberson/atmospheric.

AUBSCHINE on February 22, 2005 at 1:41 pm

The resotration of the Auburn Schines Theater is moving slowly, but it is moving forward under the Cayuga County Arts Council.

The building will never be destroyed it is under the watchful eye of the State Historic Preservation Organization and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It can only be preserved. It deserves recognition and respect as the architectural treasure that it is. It is a beautiful example of a John Eberson Art Moderne theater.

Restoration of the facade is underway, not including the marquee restoration. The interior of the building requires a large amount of asbestos abatement. Asbestos was released into the building when the roof collapsed. Present projects inside the building include some limited asbestos abatement and the restoration of electrical service to the building.

Information regarding the theater restoration can be found through the official web site listed here or by contacting the Cayuga County Arts Council through the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce; 36 South St.; Auburn NY or email:

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 18, 2004 at 3:48 am

Thanks Richard,
I have posted a link to this page from the Glove Theatre, Gloversville page.

richardg on December 17, 2004 at 6:58 pm

I remember the video store and talked to one of the partners of the nightclub about the theatre. This was before the nightclub had opened and the theatre was still intact. I’d hinted that I might be interested in purchasing the theatre, but he showed no interest in selling at that time. He did, however, tell me about the Paramount in Hammond, IN. and how they were looking for investors. I’d seen the Paramount in Hammond from the exterior only and remember it had a nice marquee but I wasn’t interested in investing. One of the nightclub investors just submitted comment about the Schine Auburn but it’s posted under the Glove theatre in Gloversville. So for some more information about this theatre go to the Glove theatre.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 13, 2004 at 9:32 am

The seating capacity of the Auburn Theatre when it first opened in 1938 was 1,802 seats. It was one of the last designs carried out by John Eberson.

It closed as a movie theatre in 1978 and was a nightclub for several years until the elcrical system was blown out during a concert. A video store was opened in the foyer in 1986 and the auditorium was sealed off and abandoned. The video store closed in 1992. Fundraising and community suppost paid for a new roof in 1998. Any further news?