11-13 Preble Street,
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Previously operated by: E.M. Loew's Theaters Inc.
Architects: George Henri Desmond
Firms: Desmond & Lord
Previous Names: Preble Street Playhouse
The Portland Theatre was opened on February 10, 1910 with “The Fall of Troy” and vaudeville. Its owners and managers over the decades included Moxley Blumenberg (later the manager of the Portland branch of Paramount Pictures), then James W. Greely (also a part-owner, who had come from Greely’s Theatre in Portland), Hiram Abrams, William E. Green, again James W. Greely, H.W. Hutchinson, Charles Vose, Julius Cahn and Gus Hill. An opening-week program said it was “The finest popular price vaudeville theatre in Maine, Week of May 16 - a bill of exceptional quality' including song and dance acts and ‘Katherine Scott, demonstrator of Motion Pictures’”.
With a cast stone façade, the auditorium was 75 ft. wide and 80 ft. deep with an orchestra pit. The second-floor house was of steel and brick construction with a broad staircase leading from its entrance lobby to a grand foyer running the full width of the building under the balcony. Maroon-draped windows looked out over Preble Street and across at B.F. Keith’s Theatre. Pale green walls were embellished with gold gunmetal fixtures. The stage was 25 feet deep by 60 feet wide, but it lost 15 feet of the building’s width because of an indentation at stage left. The original screen was 12 by 14 feet. Albert E. Hopkins led the orchestra; John Carter was the stage carpenter. The orchestra floor seated about 500 on the main floor and 450 more in the balcony. By 1929 it was operated by E.M. Loews Theatres.
Newspaper listings ended in 1953, but it possibly finally closed in the 1960’s. At this writing in 2014 it is vacant and endangered.
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