Latchis Theatre

51-61 Pleasant Street,
Claremont, NH 03743

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Latchis

Architects: Steven Wesley Haynes, Harold Mason

Styles: Greek Revival

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Latchis Theatre

A classic old-style theatre built by the Latchis chain, which also owned other theatres in Vermont and New Hampshire. Opened on December 19, 1928 with Greta Garbo in “A Woman of Affairs” and four acts of vaudeville. The theatre operated at least until 1982. It was reopened in 1985 but soon closed again.

Now closed, but the front part of the building looks in good condition as of 2009 photos - entrance is not boarded up. However, the façade is all that remains, the auditorium has been demolished and the site is a parking lot.

Contributed by David A. Litterer

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on September 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm

In the 1942-43 edition of the Motion Picture Almanac, the Latchis in Claremont is, not surprisingly!, listed as part of the Peter D. Latchis theater circuit of Brattleboro VT. Latchis ran 14 theaters at that time, in NH, VT and MA.

TaxiManSteve on February 20, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Visited this theater, shortly before the “house” was demolished for a parking lot, as a reporter for a small weekly. Those touting demolition made their case. The interior was damp and had fungi and suffered water damage. The former owner dropped by during the press conference. He was none too popular with the citizenry present… As the Claremont Opera house is still hosting live acts at the city center, this theater was considered surplus in an industrial city that has seen better days. A parking lot replaced the “house.”

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 26, 2015 at 2:18 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Latchis, it’s Card # 475. Address is Pleasant St. There is an exterior photo dated March 1941. Condition is Good. The report says that the theater opened about 1925 and was showing MGM films. There were 790 orchestra seats and 360 in the balcony, total 1,150 seats. Competing theater is hard to read but looks like “Magnet”; however, instead of making out a Report card for the Magnet, the MGM agent made one out for the Tremont Theatre. The 1940 population was 12,100.

jaboschen on January 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm

TaxiManSteve, What year was the auditorium demolished, and were there ever any photos of the interior published in the paper?

melvin on March 3, 2021 at 1:38 pm

The Latchis was open until 1982 or so, when competition from the Claremont Triple Cinemas on Washington Street (as well as home video and cable movie channels) drew a lot of people away from the Latchis' older and more “lightly maintained” single screen. The theater sat dormant (with a MOTEL HELL poster still up in one of the outdoor cases) for a few years, until the owners of the nearby New Falls Cinema in Bellows Falls, VT opened it up again in 1985, with a mix of second-run titles and new features, along with a vintage CAPTAIN AMERICA serial chapter before the film. The continued disrepair and older titles didn’t do much to revitalize the theater, and it closed again within a few months, to lie dormant until its eventual partial demolition.

There was a newspaper article in the EAGLE TIMES (Claremont, NH newspaper) in the late 80s/early 90s about the state of the interior of the theater at that time, with photos of the torn and paint-splattered screen, and overall state of decay and vandalism. As Steve said above, the town didn’t see the value (or have the means or funds) to restore or save the theater, so the auditorium was turned into a a parking lot. A few businesses have occupied what’s left, with the marquee, entry ramp with stone floors, poster cases, stairs to the balcony and balcony lobby still intact, perhaps the most fitting of which was Captain R&R Video for a short period in the late 90s/early 00s.

arficus on December 8, 2022 at 5:21 pm

This was a marvelous theater. My family owned and operated an adjoining business from the 1930’s to 1980’s. The businesses were linked via amazingly spooky subterranean passages. I regularly saw films there throughout the ‘70s, last one being in '82 or possibly '83. I recall lots of ornate forms, gold gilding, murals, and a massively vaulted ceiling, but I was young and it’s been a long time. Emil, the gentleman who ran the place for many, many years, was a notable character.

50sSNIPES on October 6, 2023 at 1:06 pm

The Latchis Theatre was built on a site of the former Howe Garage and Moore’s Antique Shop, and opened its doors on December 19, 1928 with Greta Garbo in “A Woman Of Affairs” along with four acts of vaudeville and an address delivered by Judge Chester B. Jordan of Keene which also featured a special speech appearance by Peter Latchis of Keene, the main man who operates the Latchis chain.

The 1,150-seat theater featured the interiors of classic Greek architecture from the original architects of Harold Mason and Wesley Haynes, both from Fitchburg, Massachusetts. A total of 900 people from New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts attended the opening ceremony and attraction (including a group of town officials from the New Hampshire town of Milford).

The Latchis Theatre was originally planned in October 1927 by the Latchis chain who were passed by Mrs. John H. Howe who was the senior member of the Latchis chain. An agreement said that they must take possession on or by April 1, 1928. The transfer which included both the garage and the antique shop themselves and an adjoining land featuring a frontage of 102ft. The property itself was purchased by Howe herself in 1915, and both the garage and the antique shop were both built in 1917. Both the garage and the shop were later torn down in early-1928 to make way for the erection of the Latchis Theatre building.

On August 26, 1982, the Latchis Theatre closed due to low attendance as the theater faced short competition with the Claremont Triple Cinema and with Warner-Amex Cable in Claremont began adding more channels on television including both HBO and The Movie Channel. However, the Latchis Theatre briefly reopened in 1985 under a mixture of first-run and second-run titles (plus classic serials before showings) but closed due to both falling disrepair and the management there didn’t do as much business to revive.

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