Robey Theatre

Lafayette Street and 2nd Street,
St. Marys, WV 26170

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Auditorium Theatre

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The Auditorium Theatre was opened in 1902. It became the Robey Theatre around 1930. Sound was provided by Phototone D. Seating was listed at 412 seats. It was closed around 1953.

Contributed by Chuck

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm

An article in the December 14, 2005, issue of The St. Mary’s Oracle mentions in passing “…the old Auditorium Theater (1902), later Robey Theater.”

The fourth photo on this web page shows the Auditorium Theatre behind the tiny City Building on the corner of Lafayette and Second Streets. The 1913-1914 Cahn guide lists the Auditorium as a ground floor house with 290 seats on the main floor, 132 in the balcony, 225 in the gallery and 16 in the boxes. Presumably the gallery and boxes were abandoned when it was converted for movies.

The text accompanying the photo says: “The theatre was in use until about 1953 when the Illar family built a new theatre on the other side of the street at the other end of the same block to the right.” The new theater, called the Center, was actually opened by 1949, when it was featured in the the August 20 issue of Showmen’s Trade Review.

According to the town’s web site, its name is styled St. Marys, without an apostrophe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 17, 2014 at 11:53 am

As the only photo available is dated 1901 and shows the Auditorium Theatre, I’m not positive that the old building was not replaced at some point. The Auditorium looks to have been a frame structure with the entrance on the long side, which faced Lafayette Street. A very awkward configuration. It’s possible that it was rebuilt at some point, but I haven’t found any references to such an event.

I’ve set street view to match as nearly as possible the historic photo, rather than where the Auditorium actually was just down the block. If it was rebuilt, it’s possible that the Robey Theatre didn’t occupy exactly the same footprint. Both the Auditorium and the small City Building next to it have been demolished.

A History of Pleasants County, West Virginia, by Robert L. Pemberton, says that it was in early 1920 that “…the Auditorium was sold by W. C. Dotson to H. H. Robey of Spencer, who made it one of his chain of motion picture theaters.”

NessaChan on September 29, 2022 at 7:09 am

The Sanborn map for 1913 shows “motion pictures” being shown in a frame building on 2nd Street, slightly down from Clay Street, address is 441 2nd Street, which doesn’t exist today. Not near Lafayette Street at all though, so I’m assuming it was yet another separate theatre.

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