Historical Marker Remembers Jamestown’s Winter Garden Theater

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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) – A new historical marker was unveiled in Jamestown honoring the former Winter Garden Theater on Friday.

The marker, located at Jamestown’s Winter Garden Plaza commemorates the theater that stood for almost 100 years..  

Opening in 1913 at a cost of $60,000, the establishment was known for its elaborate and costly atmosphere showing pictures for 10 cents per feature film.

The theater was also among the first places locally to boast new technology.

“Movie goers at this time and through the 80’s could enjoy perks like the advanced soda machines of the theater’s concessions, a machine that had Coke, Orange, and Sprite,“ explained City Historian Ashley Senske. “Of course a popcorn machine, all sorts of different candies and even an ice cream machine.”  

The Winter Garden Theater was the last of an era, ultimately closing in the 90’s. There were talks in 2008 to reform the building at a cost of $2.3 million dollars.

Lawmakers decided to deconstruct and redevelop the space as a public courtyard. The building was brought down on April 17th 2010.

In the end, the city historian believes this marker will keep the theater’s memory alive. 

“I think these last few years have shown many of us just how much they (movietheaters) meant to us when we actually couldn’t go to one any longer,“ said Senske. “Much like going to church or a concert, movie theaters allow us to have memorable, emotional moments while sharing a public space with strangers. And the Winter Garden provided that experience and so much more to the citizens of Jamestown for nearly 100 years. So I am delighted to have been able to honor it with all of you here today, and highlight the importance theaters bring to our lives.”    

This site is the 78th location in the City of Jamestown to receive a historical marker.


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