36 South Street,
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Previous Names: Parker Hall, New Theatre, Ungerer's Theatre, The Arcadia
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Parker Hall was built in 1890 as a two-story facility that was an entertainment zone for Manasquan and its tourists. It was across the street from the Manasquan Amusement Palace which featured recreational fun including bowling. Parker Hall added moving pictures to the mix and they proved so popular that the theatre became The New Theatre on July 1, 1910 showing movies.
16-year old J. Louis Ungerer purchased the New Theatre in 1913 changing its name to Ungerer’s Theatre. Just after making improvements to the theatre, fire caused $7,000 damage to the structure on February 27, 1914 including the entire projection booth but sparing the main auditorium. Ungerer was badly burned and his 50 patrons were fortunate to escape uninjured despite poorly executed fire escapes. Ungerer continued film exhibition from March 6, 1914 to late-May at Silver’s Building on Main Street until he could get the former Parker Hall venue back to functional.
Just three months later, on May 26, 1914, Ungerer was back in business with a fortified projection booth and panic-proof door hardware to aid any future evacuations. He was also forced to pay $22 to the Spring Lake fire department for arriving to assist in fighting the February fire. Ungerer sold the theatre on January 6, 1915 to Otto Morris.
In January of 1915, Morris changed the name of the venue to the Mansquan Theatre and proudly showed films by the Radiant Film Company of Spring Lake. He sold to Philip Ienne soon thereafter who sold the complex to A.C. Lewis in 1918 who improved the venue and changed it to The Arcadia.
The theatre became the Arcadia Theatre thereafter which converted to sound on July 19, 1930. The theatre closed from February until June of 1931 switching to a DeForest Sound System. The theatre often operated just three days a week. In June of 1933, the Arcadia Theatre announced it would close for the summer and would return in the Fall. That didn’t occur.
The Arcadia Theatre Company was, however, not done in the market moving its office to Manaquan and opening the Agonquin Theatre on July 27, 1938. In April of 1939, the city council approved the demolition of the former Parker Hall / Arcadia building.
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