Colonial Theatre

201-209 Bleecker Street,
Utica, NY 13502

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Shubert Brothers Theater Company, Wilmer & Vincent Corp.

Firms: E.C. Horne & Sons

Previous Names: Sam S. Shubert Theatre

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Colonial Theatre

The Sam S. Shubert Theatre was built on the site of the 1862 Utica Arsenal, which was demolished to build the theatre at the corner of Bleecker Street and Charlotte Street. The Sam S. Shubert Theatre opened on December 16, 1906. In 1908, the Sam S. Shubert Theatre was presenting Keith Vaudeville. By 1917 it was operated by the Wilmer & Vincent chain and renamed Colonial Theatre, and was converted into a movie theatre. In 1920 alterations were carried out to the plans of architectural firm E.C. Horne & Sons. It was operating until around 1943 in use as a burlesque theatre. The Colonial Theatre was demolished in 1945.

Contributed by Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

An ad in the January 2, 1943, issue of The Billboard lists the Colonial Theatre in Utica as part of the I. Hirst circuit, a chain of 15 burlesque houses. I’ve found a reference to the house operating as the Colonial Theatre as early as 1927, but as the Shubert Theatre it was showing movies at least as early as 1916. I also found an undated reference to the Shubert Theatre being operated for a time by the Wilmer & Vincent vaudeville circuit. Both the Shubert brothers and Wilmer & Vincent began their careers as theater operators in Utica.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 22, 2013 at 10:42 pm

The Shubert Theatre is listed at 201-209 Bleeker Street in the 1910 Utica city directory. Norman O. Keim’s Our Movie Houses gives the aka Buckley Theatre for this house in 1914, and lists it as the Colonial from 1917 to 1945. The name Buckley must have been temporary, as I’ve found the Shubert mentioned in 1916, and in 1915, when the August 7 issue of The Moving Picture World said that an organ was being installed in the house.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 2, 2014 at 5:12 pm

The April 3, 1920, issue of The American Contractor had this item about alterations being made to the Colonial Theatre:

“Theater (colonial, alt. & ext.): $150.000. 203 Bleeker St., Utica, N. Y. Archt. E. C. Horn & Son, 1476 Broadway, N. Y. C. Owner Wilmer & Vincent Theater Co., Walter W. Vincent, pres., 1415 Broadway, N. Y. C. Archt. will take bids on gen. contr. Finishing plans.”
E. C. Horn & Sons did quite a bit of work for the Wilmer & Vincent circuit during this period.

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