A diverse collection of preservationists, movie buffs & "Historic Theatre Nuts" who love Baltimore City's last remaining historic single-screen movie house: The SENATOR Theatre
Since Baltimore City's lessees/operators took control more than a year ago, The Senator has suffered from what is hard not to describe as neglect.
Many have memories of the glorious neon lights and marquee that radiated like a beacon in the Belevedere Square / Govans section of York Road in North Baltimore at night, but now much of that illumination has gone dark. Graffitti & weeds have gone unchecked, the general appearance of "deferred maintenance" is a shock to those with such memories.
Please join FoTS in demanding that this internationally known historic landmark, already listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places be protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy & understand our city's history.
During a visit by the Theatre Historical Society, Barry Chandler, a society member from England had this to say:
"It's the history of this nation. The first two quarters of this century, the motion picture was the entertainment. Theaters like this are historic."
=-=-= Recent Theatre History =-=-=
In late 2008 it was announced that The Senator was in trouble. The economy was quite unfavorable (for everyone), sales were down & the mortgage past-due.
In December a public meeting was held that proposed the theatre transition to a non-profit. A representative of Venuetech, a company that aids in such transitions was on hand to present examples of other successful transitions.
March 2009 marked the end of its continuous, unbroken role as a first run movie house. The lights remained on & the doors open, however, thanks to a handful of volunteers and efforts were made to demonstrate that The Senator could support a variety of entertainment beyond just motion pictures.
In 2009 Baltimore City purchased the The Senator's mortgage note & in July held its own foreclosure auction. After winning with a bid significantly lower than the appraised value, the City was set to become the owner of the historic 1939 structure. Shortly thereafter, the the Baltimore Development Corp. (BDC) issued and RFP on behalf of Baltimore City government. The contraversial winner of which was announced & endorsed by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in June 2010: the management group of James "Buzz" Cusack who rents & operates The Charles Theater in Baltimore, and his daughter, Kathleen.
On June 21, 2010 the volunteers, who became known as The Friends of The Senator (FoTS) and former owner Tom Kiefaber shared their final night at The Senator by providing free screenings of a 1978 British IB Technicolor print of the first Star Wars movie to the community, packing in two evening shows.
The Cusacks took over & reopened the shuttered theatre on October 15, 2010. Since that time, several versions of new contruction & promises of restoration have been made, the last of which were presented publicly in March 2011.
The videos presented here, produced by fellow supporters attempts to drive home how much we have already lost...
And how Baltimore, specifically, is may allowed this endangered species die out.
The Senator's "Opening" program (see copies at: friendsofthesenatortheatre.wordpress.com/about/)
identified her as the "Theatre of Distinction"... We are now facing a fearful possibility that she may become
the "Theatre of Extinction".