57 E. Main Street,
8 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: Schine Circuit Inc.
Architects: John Adolph Emil Eberson
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Schine Theatre, New Norwalk Theatre, Town & Country Theatre
News About This Theater
- Apr 28, 2011 — Norwalk Theatre, Norwalk OH
- Jul 23, 2010 — Norwalk Theatre History on DVD
- May 11, 2010 — Norwalk Main Street Theatre for sale - Schine Theatre
- Oct 30, 2009 — Halloween Zombie Walk and Movie "Night of the Living Dead" at Norwalk Main Street Theatre
- Aug 27, 2009 — Norwalk Theatre for sale
- Feb 28, 2009 — Rummage sale at Norwalk Main Street Theatre
- Feb 5, 2009 — Rummage sale at historic Norwalk Theatre
- Dec 19, 2008 — Historic theatre for sale
- Nov 25, 2008 — Norwalk Theatre "Rummage" Sale/January, 2009
- May 15, 2008 — Theatre needs a director
- May 14, 2008 — Ben Stein's Expelled to show at Norwalk Theatre
- Apr 17, 2008 — Norwalk Main Street Theatre Looking For New Owner
- Feb 29, 2008 — Norwalk Theatre success
- Sep 18, 2007 — Historic Norwalk Theatre For Sale
- Jan 26, 2007 — Purchase a bulb on our marquee
- Apr 17, 2006 — Live your dream - Own a theater!
The Norwalk Theatre was built in 1941 for the Schine Theatres chain. It contains a balcony seating 224 and there are 700 seats in the orchestra. There is a theatre organ on a lift, and an orchestra pit. It also has a stage set-up for shows. The theater has all of its original art and fixtures intact and working. The theater has been constructed in a Greek-Deco style and it has the largest marquee in Ohio. The theater showed movies as well as live shows and concerts. It was closed in late-2011.
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Recent comments (view all 58 comments)
Update on the Norwalk Theatre: the new owner has begun repairing the roof on the building. No doubt there will be a great deal of interior work to deal with as well. There doesn’t appear to be a re-open date available yet but it’s a step in the right direction!
I managed the theater from 2007 until late 2008 under incredibly inept owners!! The LaFountains ran that place into the ground and alienated themselves from the community. I grew up in Norwalk and they hired me to work with the community to help out their already soiled reputation. They were not even from Ohio and enjoyed selling most of the valuable out of the theater in order to “make back the money that they lost in buying the dump.” ( their NOT mine) I ended up quitting because they refused to pay me and ended up owing me over $300 for the hard work and sweat equity that I and my family put into that place to see it succeed. They left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths. I have high hopes for the new owners but they have to fork out the money for the damage that the LaFountains let happen by refusing to fix the roof after I had SEVERAL contactors come in to give them estimates. They thought that because they had a 5 screen movie theater in Michigan that they could run this place. I have so many other stories about their blatant neglect of this beautiful building.
Interesting previous comment! The 2006 purchasers of the Norwalk Theatre were provided with a “turnkey” operation. Everything necessary (and more!) to begin providing live entertainment was included in the sale. The place was certainly not “a dump” as they may have told others. The building was absolutely clean. The 2006 purchasers visited the area several times and took photos of the premises so they knew exactly what they were purchasing. It is quite true that many things in the buildings were taken out and sold: original lighting fixtures in the lobby, racks of valuable costumes, the theatre organ and the grand piano are ones of which I’m aware. Unfortunately they also asked people to “donate” to their profit-making venture—which was NOT a 501©3 operation. Since the most recent sale in July 2012, besides the roofing repairs and some changing light bulbs, nothing else appears to have been done and there is no re-open date scheduled. Really sad as T & C Players, who had owned the building since 1974, filled the place for years with live shows and concerts.
In light of some previous comments, is this bad news for Fenton?
I have been associated with 3 owners of the theatre including the present one. All have been interested in making the theatre a success. Operating an older theatre is hard work and requires a lot of time, dedication, and money, and progress is sometimes slow. If you want the theatre to succeed – try volunteering your time and energy.
Between the years of 2006-2010, the were a few “volunteers” who provided gratis services during that period. There were also 4 different managers for the theatre, not including those who were interviewed for that position. Bartering for goods/services in return for advertising was also, I believe, an issue which eventually didn’t sit well with the local population. During the Schine years, prior to 1971, the theatre HIRED local people to work in part-time positions. If a business is a “for profit” entity, it’s an unwise business move to ask for volunteer workers.
@coriolanus Have you heard any updates in regards to the Norwalk Theatre? From reading your updates, it sounds like the current owner has fixed or is fixing the roof. That is a plus. But I am curious to hear more about anything new. I am hoping the new owner is going to care for this building. Unlike the prior owners which nearly destroyed the place.
To other’s reading: I can concur with Coriolanus as being one of the persons interested in the theatre when Towne And Country was selling the theater. When I looked at the building in 2006, it was pretty much turn-key. The building did need work, but it was very much usable and in good condition. When I was there the building only needed the ceiling repainted, the balcony carpet redone and some update work needed in the dressing room areas. Everything else was fine. What more is that the projection booth had two original carbon arc projectors in excellent running condition.
The sign did need some minor work, but let me tell you when the owners (Towne And Country) lit that marquee up for me it was like a scene from the movie “The Majestic”. I was just floored. They simply don’t make marquee’s like that of the Norwalk anymore. In fact that night as people drove by, they slowed down to get a good look thinking perhaps something was going on.
I really hope to God that something is done with this place as it would be a tremendous loss if it is let go to waste. It truly is a beautiful place and a snapshot from history as the building still contained many original fixtures (at lest when I visited in 2006).
The new owner has been doing some interior/exterior work however the building appears to be without central heating at the present time. The owner has done some repair work on the marquee and removed some exterior paint on the front of the building to reveal the original stencil work and color. On the inside, the panels over the “half-wainscotting” have been removed which would tend to have lighting from the interior lobby spill into the auditorium. There is a Facebook Page—(type in the search box “The Norwalk Theatre” and there should be some photos. No event for the building has been set up as far as I know. Regarding the balcony carpeting: this was the original floorcovering from when the theatre was constructed. As the balcony wasn’t open that frequently, it remained in relatively good shape and the original color was still bright.
Added some pictures from the Norwalk Theatre Facebook page.
This theatre has once again been sold for $35,000 to two local women. It will become the “Norwalk Arts Center LLC.” The interior is in rough shape and has not been heated or air-conditioned in some years. The roof has also had some issues and will need replacing. The stage floor is buckled due to water damage and the lighting system no longer operates. Unsure as to the former sound system. The carbon arc projectors remain but have not been operated for a long time. The plans are to repair and re-open with children’s theatre, other events and classes.