The North Park Theatre celebrated another significant architectural milestone this past week. This semi-final “Centennial Restoration” project, totaling upwards of $300K, saw the original front lobby brought back to life thanks to funding from the Richard W. Rupp Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation, The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, the Ralph C. Wilson Jr Foundation, and state funding secured by former Senator Mark Grisanti, among others.
Complementing the restoration of the original Shea’s windows above the marquee, the entranceway lobby has been brought back to its original 1920s appearance. Not only is the lobby now a vaulting presence (there were drop ceilings), the dramatic chandeliers are also in place – it’s a sensational statement that is awesome to see in its current state.
Other renovations include:
- A state-of-the-art digital projector
- New seats
- New windows
- A first-floor gentleman’s bathroom
- New lighting
- Newly exposed marble floors in the lobby
- A new concession stand
Thanks to the hard work of co-owners Tom Eoannou and Mike Christiano, the North Park Theatre is an almost-fully intact crown jewel along Hertel Avenue. It takes some serious vision and determination to pull off a project of this magnitude. From rewiring the electrical to restoring the proscenium mural, the effort put forth is nothing short of a miracle. It all started with the restoration of the neoclassical foyer and auditorium, designed by Buffalo architect Henry Spann. That work was the precursor to the restoration of the murals, painted by 1901 Pan-American Exposition painter Raphael Beck.
The work on the restoration project is attributed to Swiatek Studios, Abraxas WNY, Peyton Barlow Construction, Flynn Battaglia Architects, and Reddin Construction.
Hertel is buzzing with life these days, with new murals, new restaurants, and a business community that is beating the prideful drum louder than ever. The North Park Theatre has now become the epicenter of all of that activity, thanks to a community that never gave up hope, and never let the lights go dark.
Lead image and gallery photos courtesy Glenn Murray