Arts & Culture
Photographer Amy Davis describes her new book that explores Baltimore’s forgotten movie theaters.
Photography from "Flickering Treasures: Rediscovering Baltimore's Forgotten Movie Theaters," by Amy Davis. Used with permission.
Royal –1329 Pennsylvania Avenue, 2013 - From left, Tyler Saunders, Traveis Howell and Jawuan Maultsby are ready for football practice on the field that replaced the Royal and other businesses.
“In 2007, the Senator Theatre’s threat of foreclosure sparked my curiosity about cinemas that had closed. As the setting where moviegoers entered a world of dreams and desires, I saw our faded theaters as a powerful metaphor. Movie houses were portals of escape, and yet the buildings themselves could not escape the urban changes that engulfed them.
I was astonished to learn that, at one point, more than 120 theaters existed in the city. Even native Baltimoreans aren’t aware of the former theaters that they pass by on a daily basis. It’s gratifying to know that when readers delve into Flickering Treasures, they’ll share the excitement of discovery that I felt, and I hope this awareness will encourage people to support preservation efforts.
The handsome map in the book highlights the fact that the 72 featured theaters are sprinkled all around the city. My interviews reinforced how compartmentalized the city is, in terms of how Baltimoreans perceive their own stomping grounds and what lies beyond their familiar surroundings. As we look at the most struggling sections of the city, this is an undeniable factor in their neglect. I hope my book will spur a dialogue about what makes a city thrive—or not.”
Amy Davis has been a staff photographer at The Sun since 1987, winning awards while covering politics, education, breaking news, and social issues. She graduated from The Cooper Union in New York City.
Fulton –1563 North Fulton Avenue, 2012 - The church which owned the Fulton abandoned the theater after a fire in 2007. The former Fulton was razed by the city in early 2017.
Horn – 2016 West Pratt Street, 2012 - The Horn name is still visible above the repurposed marquee. Like many former theaters, the Horn is now a church. Schanze – 2426 Pennsylvania Avenue, 2014 - Schanze Theater became the home of the Arch Social Club, one of the nation's oldest African American clubs, in 1972.
Patterson – 3134 Eastern Avenue, 2013 - The Patterson is now the home of Creative Alliance. Its blinking blade sign is a replica of the original.
Mayfair – 508 North Howard Street, 2016 - Partial demolition of the venerable 1904 Mayfair began in the fall of 2016.
New – 210 West Lexington Street, 2010 - The wrecking ball brings down the century-old New Theater.
Mayfair – 508 North Howard Street, 2013 - Nature reclaims the Mayfair Theater.
Senator – 5904 York Road, 2014 - The Senator Theater is one of Baltimore's most intact examples of the Streamlined Moderne style.
Apex –110 South Broadway, 2013 - Andrew Gore, one of the visitors to the Apex on auction day. Baltimore’s last adult movie theater became a convenience store in 2014.
Parkway – 5 West North Avenue, 2012 - The auditorium retains much of its Baroque glory, despite more than three decades of abandonment. It’s now the Maryland Film Festival’s home.