Colony Theatre

129 Market Street,
Wilmington, NC 28405

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Showing 13 comments

DavidZornig on July 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm

Demolition photos added credit New Hanover County Public Library.

FlashCat on August 6, 2019 at 4:52 pm

They are two different theaters. The Victoria in Wilmington, DE was closed in March 1920. The site was purchased by the Wilmington Savings Fund Society bank and built their new headquarters on that site. The Wilmington, DE gentlemen’s name was Benjamin Schwartz and not Schwarz (the Wilmington, NC gentlemen’s name) so they would be two totally different men.

gadavis500 on June 1, 2017 at 2:51 pm

Upon more research, it seems that the cited article was from The Wilmington News, of Wilmington,Delaware. Although the article was about Benny Schwarz and it was a Victoria Theatre and it was on Market St. Something is very strange here. It begs the question…. was the Benny Schwarz of Wilmington NC (who later became the mayor), ever the manager of the Victoria Theatre in Wilmington, NC? …or is all of this a pure coincidence and brought together by research on theatres.?

gadavis500 on June 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm

the newspaper article linked by rivest266 states that the Victoria Theatre was at 836 Market St. It was in the 100 block of Market St. Can anyone explain that?

rivest266 on May 14, 2016 at 4:53 pm

Trouble with the law in 1914:

raysson on January 29, 2013 at 9:42 am

Closed on October 31,1974

raysson on December 10, 2012 at 11:44 am

A lot of great movies played here at the Colony Theatre in Downtown Wilmington. David Lean’s LAWRENCE OF ARABIA played here first-run on August 22,1963. It was an exclusive engagement showing.


kencmcintyre on February 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

Here is another vintage photo of the Colony:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 14, 2010 at 7:29 am

This house opened January 12, 1914, as the Victoria Theatre. It was designed by architect Burett H. Stephens, who had designed Wilmington’s first purpose-built movie house, the Bijou, opened in 1912. After closing in 1924, the Victoria was remodeled and reopened as the Carolina Theatre the following year.

The latest mention I can find of the Carolina Theatre in Boxoffice dates from December 13, 1952, and the earliest mention of the Colony I’ve found is from November 9, 1954, so the name was changed between those dates.

There is a page about the Victoria in the “Going to the Show” section of the University of North Carolina’s DocSouth project. It links to their page about the Carolina, but I don’t see anything there about the house as the Colony.

Boxoffice of November 25, 1974, recaps the history of the Victoria/Carolina/Colony in one of two articles about the closing of the house (left column, right-hand page), which took place on October 31 that year. Note that both the Boxoffice article and the UNC’s Carolina Theatre page misspell the architect’s name as Stevens rather than the correct Stephens. Additionally, Boxoffice gives the year of the name change from Victoria to Carolina as 1930, not 1925 as stated at the UNC page.

PatriciaCarol on May 6, 2009 at 6:08 pm

I was wrong! My mother insisted that The Bailey was never owned by Stewart & Everett and she was right in that it was never owned by them when she lived in Wilmington. At some point, I do not know when, The Bailey was operated (but probably not owned) by Stewart & Everett as I have seen it listed in some promotional literature for the managers of this chain from the 1970s.

PatriciaCarol on March 23, 2009 at 7:31 pm

My two cents: Stewart & Everett never owned The Bailey. Stellings & Gossett owned four drive-ins (Starway, North 17, Wrightsville Rd. & Skyland) and The Manor in Wilmington. I don’t know who owned The Colony but when Stewart & Everett bought Stellings & Gossett they also purchased (or possibly leased) The Colony about 1960-61. Per Beverly Tetterton’s book “Wilmington: Lost But Not Forgotten” the three names of this theatre beginning in 1913: Victoria, Carolina, Colony. However, Beverly gets the year wrong as to when Stewart & Everett came into The Colony’s history. Mr. Roe – kiddy shows were a huge draw and Daddy (Edward Marks) played those up big! (He painted all the banners & did many of the cut-out letters on the marquee) They gave away nice prizes at some of the kids shows (like a bicycle, record player, camera) and often tied in with local soft-drink bottlers/distributers for discount (or free) admission (like bring 6 Royal Crown bottle caps & get in free). I have so many pictures (mostly of the marquee) from this time period. I hope to scan at least a few more & get them to my flickr site soon.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 25, 2009 at 3:41 am

Chuck, You are correct, it is “Bye Bye Birdie” (the 1963 movie) as the main attraction. I didn’t spot that (late at night here in the UK!) and I noticed the neoned letters on the advertising above the marquee, similar to how many London live theatres advertise. What I noticed more was the banner sign above the entrance advertising “Little Red Riding Hood” (Matinees Only). I was not aware of a film title of this children’s story, and presumed it to be a live production. However, searching IMD there was an animated movie of LRRH made in Spain in 1960, which was released in a dubbed version in the USA in 1963. So I was incorrect regarding the ‘live theatre’ use.

Incidently, there was an XXX Adult version of “Little Red Riding Hood” made in 1988, but that’s way off!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

Chuck, I just added the extra details in the intro. Also…..looking at Patricia’s photo of the Colony which you posted, I would say it was operating as a live theatre at that point of time.