2050 Main Street,
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The Colonial Theater (Official)
Previously operated by: Inter-State Amusement Co.
Architects: Francis Kennard
Located in Bethlehem, NH, in the heart of the White Mountains. Recently placed on the list of NH historic places, the 325 seat Colonial Theater was built by Karl Abbot, scion of Bethlehem hotelier Frank Abbott. In the summer of 1914 Abbott, and his partner “Doc” Clark, brought the new century to northern New Hampshire first by converting the family stables to house Humpmobiles, “flivvers” and Stanley Steamers, and secondly, by housing that other most significant icon of these “Modern Times”.
By spring of the following year construction was complete and the Colonial Theater opened for business July 1, 1915. Its architect, Francis Kennard, designed public buildings, private residences and hotels, many now on the National Registry, including the largest wood framed building in Florida, the Bellview-Biltmore Hotel in Belleair.
During the 1910’s and 1920’s, Bethlehem held the distinction of being the premier summer destination resort in the northeast with over 30 hotels and four trains arriving daily. Recognizing the diverse and cosmopolitan nature of the summer population, major Hollywood studios used the Colonial Theater as a test market for their films.
The Colonial Theater remains a significant architectural link to both the history of motion pictures and the era of the grand hotels, and continues to bring the best of independent films, live music and theatre to the White Mountain region. It now has 298 seats, plus two handicap seating areas with access elevator and assisted listening devices.
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