The City of Jamestown unveiled its 78th Historic Marker at the site of the former Winter Garden Theater in downtown Jamestown.
City Historian and Historic Marker Committee Chair Ashley Senske described what the Winter Garden Theater looked like when it opened on December 25, 1913, “They’re showing ‘Beauty Unadorned’ for 10-cents a ticket. You attend the grand opening and head to this site here on North Main Street where you are greeted with a grand facade and a marquee 12-feet high in the air. Greeting you at the top of the steps of the entrance are six pairs of folding doors. Your first steps through the entrance take you into the lobby, finished in green oak with ivory furnishings and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.”
Senske said the theater was the first in Jamestown to premier “talkie” films such as “The Jazz Singer” and “Lights of New York” in 1928.
After multiple owners over the decades, the Winter Garden Theater closed for good in the early 1990s.
Senske said a study by the Downtown Jamestown Development Corporation determined the cost to renovate the building would be $2.3 million dollars, which led to the decision to go with a different renovation plan, “Redevelopment included restoration of Mechanics Alley as well as the creation of a public courtyard. The courtyard we find ourselves in today. The DJDC, along with others, decided turning it into a public plaza would be a better solution before the building became too hazardous, as the costs to renovate were skyrocketing.”
The book with all of Jamestown’s Historic Markers can be found online at https://www.jamestownny.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Historical-Marker-Book_March-2022.pdf