The Syracuse Area Landmark Theatre, built in 1927 at a cost of $1.4 million, was the result of a collaboration between Marcus Loew and architect Thomas W. Lamb. Lamb, a prolific and imaginative architect, created an Indo-Persian “fantasy world.”
In the magnificent lobbies and auditorium, rich reds and golds are accented with ornate marble, terrazzo, tapestries, exotic furnishings and filigreed chandeliers, including one designed by Louis Tiffany.
Featuring a sweeping grand staircase, a grand promenade, a gilded vault and a proscenium arch, this magnificent theatre was saved from demolition in 1977 by an outpouring of public support.
The 2,900 seat theatre has excellent stage facilities and superb acoustics. One of only a handful of such gems remaining in the United States, the building has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Landmark Theatre stage house was expanded in 2011 to accommodate Broadway-sized theater productions.
The great opera houses of the late nineteenth and early twentienth centuries gave way to the movie palaces of the roaring 20’s, which increased in popularity through their peak in the late 1940’s. Like many U.S. cities, downtown Syracuse had a concentration of these grand movie theaters like the Landmark Theater, the only one remaining today.
On South Salina Street, alone, in addition to the Landmark, then known as the Loew’s State, the lights of the R.K.O. Keith’s, the Paramount, the Empire, and the Strand lit up the night sky and helped attract large crowds to the downtown area.
R.K.O. Keith’s Theater
The Paramount Theater
The Strand Theater
They were magnificently ornate theaters, and featured lounges, sitting rooms, and bars. From the silent films through the “talkies,” the movie palaces were the social center of Syracuse nightlife. The beginning the suburban life style and the end of the big Hollywood studios’ ownership of theaters to showcase their products resulted in the death, and ultimate demolition, of all of Syracuse’s downtown theaters, except for the spectacular Landmark.
Loew’s State Theatre opened on February 18, 1928, with MGM’s silent film, West Point, starring Joan Crawford, and the stage show, Milady’s Fan. On March 30, 1929, the theatre’s first ‘talkie,’ The Broadway Melody, opened.