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Gowanda, NY

Historic Hollywood Theater


Built in 1925 to replace the original wood-framed movie house in Gowanda, the Hollywood Theater was designed by a prominent theater designer at the time, Leon Lempert & Son. Seating nearly 1000 patrons on two levels, the building remained in operation until 1992 when it became too difficult to maintain the aged building systems. An additional seven years of neglect continued until it was purchased in 1999 by a local business who then donated it to the newly formed Historic Hollywood Theater Ltd., a not-for-profit community organization. It has been this organization’s mission to restore, rehabilitate and preserve the historic building for reuse as a performance space for film and live entertainment.


Due to overwhelming costs and the lack of needed funds a phased approach to redevelopment was undertaken. State and federal grants were secured to begin Phase I in 2008 and included the first phase of mechanical/electrical upgrades and compliance with handicapped accessibility. Phase II continued in 2010 with the boiler replacement and radiator restoration. Phase III completed in 2012 included completion of the plumbing and electrical systems, lighting restoration, installation of sprinklers, fire protection, handicapped accessible ramps and refinishing of the wood doors, all of which are original to the building. Phase IV completed in July 2014 continued the process of upgrading the mechanical and lighting systems and began the process of restoring decorative elements. This included full restoration of the plaster and decorative painting on the Theater House ceiling. A seating restoration study was completed in 2012. The historic marquee was restored and reinstalled at the main entrance in 2021.

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