Oct 11, 2013

Local Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians Hosts Tour at the Sattler Theater Next Week

The local chapter of the SAH, the Louise Bethune chapter, will be hosting a tour of the Sattler Theater at 512 Broadway on Monday October 14th at 6pm. This event will be open to the public with a suggested donation of $10 to aid in the ongoing restoration efforts. All who plan to attend are asked to register in advance, which can be done by clicking here.

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This is the most intact east side movie theater remaining in Buffalo and was spared the wrecking ball in 2008 when the current owners, WNY Minority Media Professionals took ownership. Deferred maintenance and lack of general upkeep has meant an uphill battle for the group as they raise funds for the restoration of the theater. Once completed, movies will once again return to the theater in addition to live performances, comedy shows, and more.

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It was built in 1914 for prominent department store owner, John G. Sattler, who lost it shortly after its completion. His interest in the property was tied to a large real estate development that failed and the theater was sold at a foreclosure auction shortly thereafter. The name was then changed to the Broadway and was later operated by the Basil Brothers chain.

Movies stopped in the mid-1960s and it was then used as a mosque and several different religious organizations until the 1990s.  Although the building requires a full restoration, many of the original details remain including the impressive dome and commanding terra cotta fa├žade. Architect, Henry L. Spann designed the theater and his brother William later designed some interior changes in the 1940s mostly keeping with the original feeling of the building.

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The Louise Bethune Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians was founded in 2009 to promote the documentation and scholarship of the built environment in the 8 counties of Western New York.  Meetings are held every 2nd Monday of the month at local restaurants or cafes, and usually feature a presentation by a guest or member. For more information contact Cynthia Van Ness at bettybarcode@gmail.com.

To see more photos of the Sattler Theater check out my Ipernity page here.

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