Hunterdon Theatre

Route 31 and Church Street,
Flemington, NJ 08822

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Hunterdon Theatre

Opened in June of 1942 at the corner of Route 31 and Church Street. Showed movies continuously until its closing on September 16, 1993 with Harrison Ford in “The Fugitive”. With its closing, Hunterdon County only has one movie theatre.

The theatre building was then a clothing store known as Coat World. It stood vacant since the late-1990’s as the owner has had difficulty finding a new tenant. The owner, who also owns the adjacent strip mall, wants to tear it down for more parking as they are redeveloping the entire corner.

The Hunterdon Theatre was demolished in Sumer of 2006.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

dvl on May 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

I’ve been trying for maybe a year to register for this discussion. At last! My grandfather Russell, my father John and even my mother Evelyn (Kris) Van Lieu burned the midnight oil to complete the Hunterdon Theater before the deadline imposed for the war effort. Just today I found a large photo of Walter Hand, BW(?) Farrington, Ed Weede, George Van Horn and Russell Van Lieu. They are posing in the lobby of the theater on June 6, 1942. Any devoté of the Hunterdon will recognize the wild carpet!

The story of the theater’s construction was a tale of legend in our family. I grew up watching movies there and am sad that the town of Flemington is so blind to its own history that it would allow it to go. Grandpop, Mom, Dad and Uncle Don are all gone now and the landmark too.

Van Lieu and Van Horn’s office was two doors north of the theater. I’ll guess it’s the site of some fast food emporium now. The Flemington of my youth is long gone.

Photos of the construction are to be had through the archives of the Democrat, assuming they still have them. One shows my father up on one of those amazing trusses. RIP Dad.

dvl on May 24, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Van Lieu and Van Horn

Walter Hand, Farrington, Ed Weede, George Van Horn, Russell Van Lieu

I don’t remember George Van Horn. The bald man looks too old and the man in the back next to my grandfather looks too young. The order of names is as it’s written on the back. Any confirmation?

hondo59 on May 24, 2009 at 9:56 pm

Hi Dirck,
You must be a relative of Don Van Lieu of Hopewell. Don and I spoke many times about the building of the Hunterdon. Didn’t your family have something to do with Barn, Belvidere, and Clinton Point? I’m afraid that all of Don’s belongings (and clippings/memorabilia) were thrown out after his passing in September, 2006. He loved the old movie houses.

The site is a new building (Walgreen’s) and across highway 31 (old house that was torn down for a steak house) is a new gas station. Across Church Street is another pharmacy and a bank. Poniatowski Brothers site was torn down for a WAWA which recently vacated to the new place directly across the Hunterdon. Things change…

dvl on May 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm

I believe that Van Lieu and Van Horn built all of those theaters. Uncle Don was my father’s half-brother. I’m not surprised that his things were tossed after his passing. I was in his house near this time last year. There were hundreds of old “Life” magazines…

I still use some tools and equipment from Van Lieu and Van Horn!

fionaferguson on October 11, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Dear Mr. Van Lieu,

Thank you so very much for posting the old photos of the Hunterdon Theatre. As a kid growing up in Flemington, none of us thought to snap a photo of our favorite theatre because we “knew” it would be there forever. I was very sad at the thought of never seeing her again and your photos brought a smile (and a tear) to my face once again.

JimmyB27 on August 30, 2012 at 12:59 am

I remember back in the mid seventies going to see shows with the woman who’d become my wife of 36 years. I wasn’t from Flemington, but she grew up in Branchburg, really sad its gone. The Theater’s gone and so are many dear friends from Flemington, dang I hate growing old.

dvanlieu on May 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm

I’m looking for photographs of the construction of the Hunterdon Theater. I know that the Hunterdon County Democrat had some, I’ve been sent one, but I know there are more. If anyone can point me to a source of construction photos and later, I’d appreciate it.

Dirck Van Lieu

dvanlieu on May 27, 2015 at 8:25 pm

I meant to add that I have a copy of the “Special Hunterdon Theater Edition” of the “Theatrical and Shopping Guide” dated June 5, 1942, announcing the opening of “The World’s Finest Rural Theater”. A fascinating bit of local history.

50sSNIPES on April 5, 2024 at 9:52 am

Closed on September 16, 1993 with “The Fugitive”.

50sSNIPES on April 5, 2024 at 10:46 am

The Hunterdon Theatre opened its doors on June 11, 1942 with George Raft in “Broadway” (unknown if any short subjects were added). On opening day, the Ship Ahoy Minute Girls stopped by on opening day to sell war bonds and stamps to the audience. It was originally operated by the St. Cloud Amusement Company which operated 14 theaters in total across three New Jersey counties.

Eagle Properties took over the Hunterdon Theatre in 1972, but was unknown who later operated the theater in the 1980s and early 1990s.

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