Colonial Theatre

215 3rd Street,
Beach Haven, NJ 08008

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Additional Info

Functions: Church

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This was originally a wooden schoolhouse dedicated on May 1, 1885. It also served as a Catholic mission church. When the new Beach Haven School was built in 1912, the old schoolhouse was vacated.

Sid Verts, a Philadelphia electrician bought it and began showing movies four times per week in 1913. He quickly sold the building to Harry Colmer, another electrician, and his partner Leon Cranmer. They installed a balcony which expanded the seating to 50. They named the building the Colonial Theatre.

The projector was hand cranked. The lamp was powered by a gasoline driven generator. The silent films were accompanied by the piano playing of Freda Joorman Cranmer. By the early 1920s, Colmer & Cranmer needed a larger theatre. They opened the New Colonial on the corner of Bay Avenue & Center Street. They kept the original Colonial for winter time use, when the crowds were smaller. Today the building, after extensive renovations, is the Island Baptist Church.

Source - “Eighteen Miles of History on Long Beach Island” by John Bailey Lloyd, pages 160-162.

Contributed by tc
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