The history of the Boyd Theatre in Bethlehem

The history of the Boyd Theatre in Bethlehem

As appeared in The Morning Call on January 18, 2016 by Nicole Radzievich.

The Boyd Theatre at 30 Broad Street in Bethlehem. The theatre was a venue that featured live performances dating back to the vaudeville era, the Boyd became the place to see first-run movies in Bethlehem.

Bethlehem-Boyd L.P. bought Center City Bethlehem’s beloved Boyd Theatre on Dec. 31., nearly five years after it showed its last movie. A look back at its history:

•Opened in 1921 when Charles and John Kurtz, local businessmen who owned a cabinetry and furniture-making business and restaurant, under the name Kurtz Theatre. A seven-piece orchestra directed by John Hepple Sheppard performed opening night along with an Estey pipe organ.

•Renamed the Colonial in 1924, after being bought by Wilmer and Vincent Theatre Co., which owned the Colonial Theatre in Allentown. Some of those original seats are still installed in the balcony with the telltale “C” insignia.

•In 1934, A.R. Boyd Enterprises of Philadelphia bought it – along with the Globe Theater in Bethlehem and theaters in Allentown and Easton.

•On Dec. 27, 1966, a fire ripped through a building next to the Boyd in Bethlehem, damaging the theater’s lobby, facade and marquee. It reopened a year later with the showing of “The Sand Pebbles” starring Candice Bergen and Steve McQueen.

•The Heydt family bought the theater in 1970.

•The theater closes for repairs in 2011 after a windstorm and doesn’t reopen. The last movie advertised on its Facebook page is “Like Water for Elephants.”

•Several businesses operating in adjoining storefronts of the theater vacate because of water damage.

•The Boyd Theatre property, 30 W. Broad St. is bought by a company owned by Charles C. Jefferson, owner of the Montage Mountain Ski Resort.

•Owner Charles Jefferson submits plans to the city to demolish the building to make way for a $22 million apartment and retail project.

Source: Morning Call archives, former Boyd Website


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