Heritage Insights: Allendale Theater

by / Dec. 2, 2014 10pm EST
  • The Allendale Theater, 207 Allen Street, was built in 1913 by clothier Levin Michaels.
  • Designed by Leon Lempert & Son in the neoclassical revival style, the Allendale staged silent films and performances by W. C. Fields, Katherine Cornell, and the Barrymores.
  • By the 1970s, it featured dirty movies, and closed in 1982 after a short run of Alfred Hitchcock films.
  • In 1985, the marquee collapsed into Allen Street, the event a metaphor for how far Buffalo—all American cities—had fallen to neglect.
  • Later that year, the Allentown Association successfully outbid another party—intent on demolition for parking—for $1,000 at the city foreclosure auction.
  • In 1986, the Theater of Youth (TOY) started a two-year, $1 million restoration project that grew to 13 years and more than $3.5 million—the Allendale reopening in 1999.
  • Why did Colleen Fahey, TOY managing director, stick it out for so long? “Being an Irish girl from South Buffalo, I just got stubborn.”