Cattaraugus County Center For the Performing Arts

10 Main Street,
Salamanca, NY 14779

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Schine Circuit Inc.

Architects: Drew Eberson, John Adolph Emil Eberson

Functions: Performing Arts

Styles: Art Deco

Previous Names: Seneca Theatre, Ray Evans Seneca Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Seneca & Andrews Theatres - Salamanca NY (1957)

Located in Salamanca, N.Y. the theatre was originally called the Seneca Theatre and built by the Schine Chain to replace an aging venue a couple of blocks up the street. Construction was started in 1941 just before the outbreak of WWII. It was opened August 27, 1942, but due to shotage of materials, final construction work was not completed until 1945 after the war ended.

The theatre was called the Seneca Theatre after the Indian nation which owns the underlying ground. The entire city of Salamanca is located on the Seneca Indian reservation (I believe it is the only city in the US so located on an Indian reservation). The land is ground-leased from the Senecas and everyone in the town pays an annual Indian rent.

The theatre lobby featured many sculptures in crevices on the walls. It was operated by the Schine Chain until the mid-1960’s. The theatre continued to show movies until June of 1972 when the auditorium ended up under eight feet of water in the flooding which accompanied Hurricane Agnes.

The Seneca Theatre sat abandoned until the early-1980’s when Cattaragus County acquired the building. Over the next several years the theatre was slowly renovated and transformed into the Cattaragus County Center For The Performing Arts. It is now primarily used for local live theatre and travelling acts.

Contributed by Jonathan M. Crist

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

Patsy on November 11, 2006 at 4:35 pm

This theatre was also known as the Ray Evans Theatre as he was Salamanca and wrote Silver Bells.

Patsy on November 11, 2006 at 4:39 pm

Ray Evans, the songwriter of such enduring standards as “Mona Lisa”, “Silver Bells”, “Que Sera, Sera” and “Buttons and Bows,” was born in Salamanca, New York on February 4, 1915.

View link

Karen Colizzi Noonan
Karen Colizzi Noonan on November 12, 2006 at 3:41 pm

Patsy: Later in his life and practice, father and son often joined forces to work on projects. There are quite a few theaters that list both John and Drew as the architects of record.

I have visited it as it was part of the Schine Theater Chain and it really is a lovely little place. It has been quite altered inside due to a couple of floodings and to create more servicable areas to meet the theaters needs. But the facade and marquee are still quite nice and they have started a “Walk of Fame” in front of the theater. Of course Ray Evans is the first and biggest star!

TLSLOEWS on October 14, 2010 at 9:01 pm

Now thats quite a long name for a theatre.

Patsy on May 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

Any interior photos?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm

While the John and Drew Eberson Architectural Records from the Wolfsonian Library lists five theaters that John Eberson designed for the Schine circuit, the Seneca Theatre is not among them. In fact, Salamanca is not mentioned in the records at all. I wonder if the theater is just missing from the Wolfsonian’s archive, or if it has been mis-attributed to the Ebersons?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2014 at 1:02 pm

The October 10, 1941, issue of The Film Daily says that John and Drew Eberson designed the new theater being built at Salamanca for the Schine circuit:

“Schine Realty Corp. has awarded contract for erection of new fireproof theater, seating 1,142 persons, in Salamanca, N. Y., to the Benz Engineering Corp. of that city. Work has already been started. John and Drew Eberson are the architects for the house.”
I still don’t know why this project is missing from the Wolfsonian’s Eberson Archive.

RSM3853 on November 23, 2016 at 6:22 pm

The Bradford, PA Era has a photo of the main street of Salamanca during the flooding from Hurricane Agnes on the front page of its June 24,1972issue. The marquee of the Seneca Theater is visible and was showing “Diamonds are Forever” and “Hang ‘Em High.” If it is true that the theater never reopened after the flood (as stated above in the overview), this was the last booking there.

muviebuf on December 13, 2016 at 9:53 am

The Seneca Theatre opened on Thursday August 27, 1942 with “Take A Letter Darling” starring Rosalind Russell and Fred McMurray. One of several opening articles with photo has been uploaded to the photo section.

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