Landmark Theatre362 South Salina Street, Syracuse, NY, USA
ABOUT THIS THEATRE
The Landmark Theatre was designed by Thomas W. Lamb and was christened Loew's State Theatre on February 18, 1928. Built at the close of the Roaring Twenties, Loew's State offered freewheeling audiences double bills of famous stage acts and first-run moving pictures. When the stock market crashed a year later, patrons continued to flock to the theatre, where grandeur replaced despair. The theatre provided the ultimate escape. Often labeled Indo-Persian, architect Lamb further described the theatre as "European, Byzantine, Romanesque - which is the Orient as it came to us through the merchants of Venice." Audiences were ushered into Lamb's exotic world through the main lobby, which boasted a chandelier designed by Louis Tiffany for Cornelius Vanderbilt's mansion, and the grandest of the theatre's several huge murals. The Musician's Gallery, located over the front doors, featured quartet serenades as intermission entertainment during the '30s. Patrons who ascended the grand staircase reached the promenade lobby, where they delighted in finding a fishpond with a Japanese pagoda fountain. The main auditorium, which houses 1,832 of the theatre's 3,300 seats, was decorated in rich reds and golds and accented with wall ornaments throughout. The 1,400-pipe Wurlitzer organ offered its own exotic flavor, treating patrons to such sounds as a glockenspiel, marimba, bird whistles, hoof beats and surf sounds. Crowds flocked to Loew's State throughout the Depression and World War II and yet, like so many other great movie palaces (including six razed in Syracuse), the theatre's attendance began dropping steadily in the '50s. By 1975, it seemed that the pride of Syracuse would fall prey to the wrecker's ball to allow for parking/shopping complex. However, in 1977, a group of concerned citizens banded together to form the Syracuse Landmark Theatre, or SALT. SALT had the local landmark placed on the National Register of Historic Places, opening the door to government funding. By the end of 1977, the group had acquired the theater and began restoring its original splendor. Impressed with the dedication of the SALT volunteers and staff, New York State's Parks Commission began offering ongoing funding, as have Onondaga County and the City of Syracuse. Today, the theatre continues its restoration and fundraising efforts, while offering the Syracuse area a full schedule of live performances by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, touring Broadway shows, and a wide variety of renowned musicians.