My next episode of Lost Laurel will focus on the long history of the derelict building at 312 Main Street, which originally housed the Laurel Theatre, and was the longtime home to Petrucci’s Dinner Theatre before a string of increasingly unsuccessful comedy clubs led to its demise. Here’s a preview:
Unfortunately, the City’s efforts to find a developer willing and able to salvage the critically-deteriorated building weren’t successful, and having recently had the opportunity to tour it myself, I completely see why.
A big thanks to SORTO Contracting, LLC (particularly Francisco Sorto, David Muir, Blaine Sutton, Harry Garlitz and Patrick Fink) for extending the invitation to see and document the building’s final days, and for sharing some truly fantastic finds that I’ll be including in the full episode. In addition to the building’s history, you’ll see for yourself just how far gone the structure actually was. (Yes, those were angry pigeons living inside… and I’m deathly afraid of birds.)
The SORTO team was also kind enough to carefully remove and save the “Theatre” lettering from the façade for me—these are individually-cut wooden letters that are the only remaining vestiges of the Petrucci’s era (they originally spelled out the full name, “Petrucci’s Dinner Theatre” and matched the adjacent Pal Jack’s Pizza font.
The letters are badly deteriorated, and frankly, I’m amazed that they came down intact. I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m going to restore them.
Blaine Sutton and Patrick Fink of SORTO have also been sharing some of the unexpected treasures that only tend to resurface when walls start coming down. And in a movie theater that dates to 1929, that means some very old candy boxes and soda bottles, for starters! Here’s just a glimpse of what they’ve found:
Patrick tells me that the pristine Pepsi bottle pre-dates 1951, at which point Pepsi stopped using the double-dot in their logo. It had been stuck in the plaster mortar in the ceiling below the balcony for at least 65 years.
I’ll have plenty more photos to share in the next blog update when the full video is ready. Those who don’t get Laurel TV will still be able to see the episode right here.
Amazing! YOU are amazing!!
I took my first date to the Laurel Theater sometime around 1965. Her name was Barbara. I don’t remember what movie we saw. I don’t know whatever became of Barbara. I’m glad I don’t live in MD anymore. I don’t like its politics and I don’t like what it has become. But I had a great time growing up there. It was a wonderful place in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I guess one man’s progress is another man’s hell. I live in a small town in the south much like Laurel was back in the day. The circa 1935 movie theater is still open. Lost Laurel is a wonderful project. It allows revisiting a time long lost, full of great memories, without having to live there. For that, I thank you.
I worked there selling tickets and as an usher in the early 70’s, and it was in rough shape then. Grateful you took some pictures before its gone.
I spent Many a Saturday afternoon there with my cousins watching adventure cereals and cartoons, loved the old Laurel of the 50s and 60s, sad to see it go but glad to see some iconic memorabilia emerge.
This is great. So interesting to see the history of the Theatre and keep up to date with what’s happening with the historic retail in Laurel. Looking forward to watching the full movie on the Laurel Theatre and others in the future. Great idea Richard, keep it going!