Bon Ton Theater

Colden Street,
Newburgh, NY 12550

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Imperial Theater

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This theater was at Colden Street, Newburgh, opening in April 1912, and probably lasted for only a few years.

Contributed by Bob Wilson Jr

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

BobWilson on April 3, 2011 at 9:08 am

Bob Jensen…I would if I could figure out how to edit my original input. And by the way, from the ads in the papers from back then, it was a full-fledged first-run movie theater and not a nickeloden as I had first speculated.

BobWilson on April 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

No, that’s not the Bon Ton. In fact, it’s not, or ever was to my knowledge, a theater. It is the old Armory on the southeast corner of Broadway and Johnston Streets in Newburgh. The building still stands there only a few doors west of where the Broadway Theater once stood. I think that the marquee on the building probably was used to advertise basketball games and other events that were held there occasionally.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 3, 2011 at 9:50 am



BobWilson on April 3, 2011 at 10:06 am

Done. That street was named for one of the pioneer families who settled in that area back in the 1700’s. In fact, there’s a little hamlet named Coldenham just west of Newburgh near Stewart AFB that carries the name forward in time.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 3, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Could use the rest of an address or cross street, more info or photos always welcome.

BobWilson on April 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Colden Street north of Broadway was a long single block that ended at First Street in Newburgh, at a small triangular park called Clinton Square. That complete neighborhood was demolished in the late 60’s – early 70’s and the street no longer exists per se.
I’ve never seen a photo of the Bob Ton, nor do I know whether it was on the east side or west side of the street. I’ll see if I can locate one.

BobWilson on May 7, 2011 at 4:41 am

The Bon Ton was originally conceived and first opened in 1912-1913 as the Imperial Theater, but its name was changed almost immediately. Its owner/operator was a local inventor named Jacob Genter, who had developed a reflective screen fabric material called “Mirroroide”, on which moving picture images which (he claimed) could be seen clearly under daylight or fully illuminated theater conditions.
The conceit for this theater was based on the likelihood that patrons would enjoy watching films in a brightly-lit environment, under “safe” and “sanitary” conditions. Newspaper advertising records show that he promoted the theater up until the summer of 1913, when it was “closed for the season”, but I can’t find evidence that it ever re-opened. His “Mirroroide” material was manufactured locally, and evidently sold well at first in overseas indoor and outdoor environments. It is possible that local theater entrepeneur (Cohen’s Opera House, the Star Theater) George Cohen acquired this Colden Street property and by 1920 had reopened it as the Royal Theater.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 7, 2011 at 5:12 am

The 1914-1915 edition of American Motion Picture Directory lists the following movie theatres in Newburgh:
Academy of Music, Broadway & Grand Street
Cohen’s Opera House, Broadway
Imperial Theatre, Colden Street
New Palatine Theatre, 16-18 Lander Street
Royal Theatre
Star Theatre, 16 Lander Street

BobWilson on May 9, 2011 at 3:50 am

By May, 1920, according to local newspaper accounts, the Bon Ton’s original owner, Jake Genter, had passed away. George Cohen then bought the Genter estate’s interest in the Mirroroide projection screen masterial business, whose customer base had withered during World War One. Presumably, the Bon Ton Theater was included in the purchase.Whether or not Cohan ever reopened it is not known at the present time.o

BobWilson on June 29, 2011 at 12:54 pm

The Imperial Theater photo (from Mike Rogers) in Wappingers Falls on Route 9 is across the Hudson River from Newburgh and appears to have opened at least 90 years after the Imperial/Bon Ton on Colden Street in Newburgh, FYI…

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