The Empire Theater at Holyoke

by Laurel | January 31st, 2014

January 31, 1897

Sold Yesterday to T. F. Murray, Supposedly for T.J. Flannagan, on a Foreclosure of a Mortgage.

The Empire Theater on High Street at Holyoke was sold yesterday afternoon to T. F. Murray, who is supposed to represent T.J. Flannagan, the wholesale liquor dealer and saloon man, for $6,043 above the first mortgage of $15,000 held by the Barre savings bank and interest and taxes remaining unpaid.  The total amount paid with expenses added is $21,506.  The foreclosure was on a second mortgage of $5,000 held by the Barre savings bank, which also held the first mortgage, an the price paid just covers the debts on the property and the costs of the sale.  D. O. Judd was the auctioneer and there was a large crowd of interested people present, including theatrical and real estate men and insurance men.  The conditions of the sale were read and the first bid was of $5,000 by Mr. Murray, who is the present lessee.  The representatives of the bank raised the bid, as it would not cover its claim for principal and interest, and then a bid of $6,043 was made, with no one to raise it.  There was a third mortgage on the house held by the Grand Rapids chair company of Grand Rapids, Mich., but a part of that has been paid, it is understood, and the company let the balance go with the wreck.

The Empire theater has had an eventful history in the short time that it has been running, starting in the fall of 1892.  It was built by L. B. White, who had passed through one failure and had just gotten onto his feet after building up Fairfield Avenue into one of the choicest residence streets of the Highlands.  He was making a good amount of money and was in a fair way to make a small fortune in the real estate deals that he had undertaken, but in a bad time he was advised to build a theater on High street.  The lot was a small one, but it was said that this was all the better.  He did not have money enough to complete the building and had to borrow many times before he finally had it finished.  It has caused him any amount of financial troubles since and most of his property has been lost, the trouble dating from the time he built the Empire Theater.  It has been under a dozen or more managers, and in the past three or four years Mr. White has lost money on it steadily.  The lessees and managers made what there was possible out of the place and it left little for Mr. White.The house has deteriorated to be known as one in which only cheap companies exhibit, and the place draws good audiences at the low prices that are charged for admission. There have been several men from out of the city to inspect the building, among them Dwight O. Gilmore of Springfield, but he did not make an offer the property yesterday.  Mr. Murray says that he will run it as a high-class theater and it may prove a fair investment at the price paid.  It is taxed by the assessors at $19,000 for the building and $8,600 for the land.  The building cost about $35,000.

From The Springfield Republican.

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