945 Hamilton Street,
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Previous Names: Noflaw Theatre
On November 27, 1911, Allentown theatre goers were treated to a show featuring a choir, a band concert, an organ recital, plus four vaudeville acts and five reels of silent films at the opening of the 1,600-seat Noflaw Theatre. Booked by the Shea & Shay agency from New York City, the Noflaw Thetare operated as a two-a-day combination house in rivalry with Wilmer & Vincent’s Orpheum Theatre, which featured Keith vaudeville.
Despite its popularity with the public the Noflaw Theatre was not a great financial success, and had been open less than a year before its operating company failed. The house was then leased to a New York company who remodeled it, greatly expanding the stage, reducing the seating capacity to 1,200, and reopened on September 2, 1912 as the Lyceum Theatre, featuring a stock company.
Movies were not entirely abandoned by the Lyceum Theatre, though, and it was after a show of a six-reel feature and two serials on May 15, 1916, that a fire broke out which completely destroyed the theatre. A commercial building originally housing a furniture store was soon built on part of the site, while adjacent to that the entrance building of what was to have been the New Lyceum Theatre was erected.
Delays plagued the construction of the new auditorium however, and it was not completed until 1921, by which time control of the theatre had been transfered to the Noflaw’s old rivals, Wilmer and Vincent, who opened the house as the Rialto Theatre on April 21 that year.
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