Saturday, May 18, 2024
Architecture, Entertainment, Italian Populations and Culture

Restoring the Palace and Majestic Theaters: Bridgeport, Connecticut’s Forgotten Gems

By Chi-Ann Lin

Among the vacant structures in the city of Bridgeport are the historic Palace and Majestic Theaters along with the adjoining Savoy Hotel, all entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.¹ This unique complex, opened to the public in 1921 and 1922, consists of “the unusual combination of two theaters and a hotel in one building.”² Once filled with theatergoers who came to enjoy vaudeville shows, silent films, and eventually motion pictures with sound, the theaters today remain boarded up and wrapped in construction netting, the remnants of abandoned renovation projects.³ According to Richard Fosbrink, the Theatre Historical Society of America’s executive director, “we are at a tipping point…of the nearly 18,000 historic theatres documented by the Theatre Historical Society of America, only about 4,000 are still operating, with thousands of others sitting idle on the path to obsolescence.”⁴ Urgent action is therefore needed to save this rare theater complex from further deterioration.

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Chi-Ann Lin
Bridgeport resident Chi-Ann Lin is currently a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Public History program at the State University of New York-Empire State University. She also teaches social studies at Staples High School in Westport, Connecticut.