Empire Theatre, Lewiston, ca. 1903

Contributed by Lewiston Public Library


The following is an excerpt from a paper entitled "Opera Houses and Music Halls of Maine," by Donald C. King, 1997, that was to be published in a quarterly journal called "Marquee," out of Washington, DC. This document is in the vertical files at the Lewiston Public Library.

"Julius Cahn and A.L. Grant built the new Empire Theater in Lewiston, opening in 1903.....The theatre was literally blasted into being out of 7000 cubic feet of ledge, just west of the canal on Main Street. The partners were unable to find any other suitable location. It took four months to cut down the rock sufficiently to commence construction.

New York architect, Claufflin, designed the new house. A young Italian painter, F.P. Righetti, decorated the ornate interior.....The empire theatre opened in November 1903 with Raymond Hitchcock in 'The Yankee Consul.'

Parquet (orchestra) seated 594, balcony 348, gallery 509, while boxes held 48 persons. Cahn totals seating capacity at 1480......In 1914 Cahn and Grant sold the Empire Theatre to the Empire Theatre Company, which in turn, leased the house to William Gray's Maine and New Hampshire Theatres. The playhouse was to become a movie house.

On May 20, 1940 the Empire Theatre closed for remodeling. Out went the dancing girls and cupids and the 24 posts which supported the balcony and gallery. The theatre became a movie palace. With the decline of single screen theatres in the fifties, the Empire closed and eventually became a church."

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About This Item

  • Title: Empire Theatre, Lewiston, ca. 1903
  • Creation Date: circa 1903
  • Subject Date: circa 1903
  • Location: Lewiston, Androscoggin County, ME
  • Media: Phototransparency
  • Dimensions: 2.25 cm x 3.5 cm
  • Collection: Gridley Barrows Collection
  • Object Type: Image

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For more information about this item, contact:

Lewiston Public Library
200 Lisbon Street, Lewiston, ME 04240
(207) 513-3004

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