Proctor’s Theater, Located on 4th St. in Troy, New York, was built in 1914 as the newest link in the chain of theaters owned by F. F. Proctor. Although a separate building, the theater is linked to the adjacent office building constructed at the same time. Proctor’s began as a “high class vaudeville” theater, eventually adding movies to the venue.
In its heyday, Proctor’s Theater showcased such stars as Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Jimmy Durante. After closing in 1977, the building stood vacant and vulnerable to the elements until 2001 when it was purchased by private developer with plans to turn the former office building into a first-class hotel. In 2004, thhe buildings changed hands again into the possession of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which also intended to turn the theater into a high end hotel.
Friends of Proctor’s Theater was a group formed in May 2000 in response to the city’s requests for proposals for this National Historic Register theater. They were incorporated as a 501C3 organization, and consisted of business people, artists, professionals and residents interested in restoring Proctor’s Theater in Troy to an active life as an arts and cultural center. “Friends” became defunct in 2004, but new interest in this project may yet revive it!
Currently (2009), RPI, Columbia Development Corporation, and the City of Troy are working together to secure a federal grant to demolish both buildings (while preserving the facade of the theater) in order to build modern office and retail spaces. Our hope is to prevent the destruction of these structures, and use grant money instead to restore them.
You can learn more about Proctor’s Theater at: