Feb 18, 2013

BYP Uses Fundraiser Money to Secure Historic East Side Theater

Buffalo’s Young Preservationists (BYP) came together on Sunday, February 17th to seal and secure a historic east side movie theater, the Sattler Theater at 512 Broadway. Many people were on hand swinging hammers and framing openings to secure the building envelope. Money for the materials came from a fundraiser BYP held in December to board up a building in need. BYP partnered with the owners, Western New York Minority Media Professionals in order to secure the building from vandals and provide some weatherization.
WNYMMP purchased the building from a negligent owner and saved it from demolition in 2008. They are currently fundraising for a full restoration to use the theater as multi-purpose community building for films, theatrical productions, concerts, and more.


The Sattler Theatre was built in 1914 by prominent Buffalo retailer, John G. Sattler and replaced a wood framed theater that previously occupied the site. It was designed by local architect, Henry L. Spann who designed many other Buffalo theaters along with his brother William T. Spann. The beautifully detailed terra cotta façade remains intact and in good condition. Although elements of the interior have deteriorated due to water infiltration a large amount of original integrity remains.

Before removing the wall
After the wall comes down

It’s very important to make sure this building is secured and on the path to restoration. The Sattler Theatre is the most intact east side neighborhood theater and still has a very bright future. During the 20th century there were over one hundred and fifty theaters in Buffalo and only a handful remain, many of which have been altered beyond recognition. In my free time, I'm researching the theater’s history to apply for National Register listing, which would help the owners to apply for grants to aid the restoration.

ST-9183More than twenty people came out to lend a hand for over seven hours in the building. Chris Ziolkowski of Zee’s Property Services generously offered his time and equipment to pump out the flooded basement, which took the full seven hours. A makeshift wall that separated the balcony from the theater was removed to reopen the space as it was historically. All the materials needed to board up the building cost less than $350. Additional photos of the theater and the work completed yesterday are available by following the link here.
Unsecured opening before
Newly secured opening after

For more information about the theater please contact me at mike.j.puma@gmail.com

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