Empire Theatre

137 Main Street,
Lewiston, ME 04240

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dallasmovietheaters on May 11, 2022 at 2:06 am

Ceased operations on April 25, 1982 with “Vice Squad.”

rivest266 on May 9, 2022 at 9:13 pm

Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

Further evidence that Fuller Claflin designed the Empire Theatre appears in the September 22, 1903, issue of the Lewiston Evening Journal. An article said that the Amalgamated Theatre Company had resumed work on the new theater on Main Street. Amalgamated was the New York design and construction firm headed by Claflin.

An article in the February 4, 1961, issue of the Evening Journal said that the Empire Theatre had opened on November 23, 1903.

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 21, 2015 at 7:33 pm

The Theatre Historical Society archive has the MGM Theatre Report for the Empire, it’s Card # 391. There is an exterior photo taken May 1941. Address is Main St. Condition is Good. It says the theater is over 15 years old and is showing MGM product. There were 840 orchestra seats and 496 balcony, total 1,336. The 1940 population was 38,500.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2013 at 3:43 am

This piece about the Empire Theatre (linked earlier by lostmemory) says that “New York architect, Claufflin, designed the new house.” Maine Memory is the only web site that makes any reference to a theater architect named Claufflin, and I don’t find him mentioned in any periodicals of the time.

I suppose that they must be referring to Fuller Claflin, the somewhat peripatetic theater architect who was practicing in New York City at the time the Empire was built. He had previously worked in San Francisco (1890-1895), and would open an office in Detroit in 1909.

PeterKoch on March 22, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Thanks, bosox4life25, for this info.

bosox4life25 on March 22, 2013 at 9:02 pm

I’m from the area and can tell you a little bit more.

The address for the Empire Theater on the page is incorrect. The location was actually 137 Main Street, Lewiston, ME. It was demolished in 2005, but if you go to Google Street view on the actual address, you can see a parking lot where it once stood, surrounded by other buildings, which outlined the former theater.

This article appeared in the local newspaper on 1/24/12 about the area theaters that are long gone. http://www.sunjournal.com/news/city/2012/01/24/l-theaters-old-were-grand-halls/1144923

Excerpt: “The Empire Theatre was built on Main Street, Lewiston, near the canal in 1903. Staples remembers the spectacular opening night when “patrons attended in full evening dress, bejeweled and resplendent.” The opening night’s play was “The Yankee Consul” with Raymond Hitchcock, a reigning Broadway star who brought his own orchestra.

Another news story from the year the Empire Theatre was built described its ornate style.

“The theatre has a seating capacity of about fifteen hundred,” the article said. “There are 592 seats on the ground floor, 367 in the balcony and 500 in the family circle.” Also described are the eight box seats with seating for 44 people.

“The carpets are red except in the ladies’ room, which is handsomely carpeted in green and has furnishings to harmonize,” the news story reported.

“The stage is large and well arranged, there are 12 dressing rooms at the right of the stage, all of which are supplied with the most modern conveniences, including electric lights and running water.”

It was not many years ago that the Empire Theatre closed, and many area residents will recall the structure much as it was described in 1903. It was demolished just a few years ago."

PeterKoch on June 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

Is the Empire Theater still standing ? If so, what is it now used for ?

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on June 27, 2010 at 6:24 pm

In the 1942-43 Motion Picture Almanac, the Empire, along with the Music Hall,Strand and Priscilla in Lewiston, was being operated by John Ford, an affiliate of Paramount Theatres.

maleman on August 10, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Does anyone have any pics of the inside this theatre?

PeterKoch on July 8, 2009 at 6:02 pm

I saw the film “Rocky” here in late July 1977 for 99 cents, with a few co-workers of mine, on my first job, a summer job, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

I get my 30 year plaque or pin from the Corps of Engineers tomorrow.

kacky on October 14, 2006 at 12:10 am

Just a small correction, on that page it lists the Empire as easily accessible to visitors of Poland Spring. There wasn’t one in Poland. Also, in my 47 years I never saw the theater resemble that postcard. None of that ornamentation was there when I first saw Bambi at age 4. I don’t know how long ago it was stripped off, but it had been a blighted eyesore for decades before it was torn down. it’s not the fault of the people who tore it down, it’s the fault of whoever took off the facade 50 or more years ago.

drumrboy36 on September 26, 2005 at 2:51 pm

The theatre was demolished. Its gone.

Patsy on April 17, 2005 at 6:22 pm

This theatre has been brought to the attention of CT members and I, for one, feel it should be saved as I don’t think another parking lot is what the community needs for their downtown ‘development’!

teecee on April 15, 2005 at 8:12 pm

old photos:
View link

this one has a lot of the history:
View link

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 15, 2005 at 6:45 pm

Here is an old postcard showing the Empire Theatre. Check also news on the Empire about the theatre’s imminent demolition.