The Washington Theatre closed in September 1997 and was threatened with possible demolition. An attempt was made to save it by a non-profit organization called S.T.A.R.T. (Save The Area’s Regional Theatre) a group of citizens who wanted to restore the theatre to its original 1926 splendor and revive the arts of Warren, Hunterdon, Sussex, and Morris County areas. In addition to movies, they planned to offer programs and events from all areas of the arts – symphonies, art gallery exhibitions, concerts, cultural and educational programs. This web site was originally developed as a forum for happenings, progress, and suggestions regarding the Theatre and its new found life.
Although the effort failed, it did not go unnoticed. As a result, an individual secured the lease to the building and invested a great deal into making the it functional again as a movie theatre.The doors re-opened to sold out crowds in October 98. The good news is that the theatre is alive and thriving showing first run movies. However, the bad news is that the expanded artistic vision has died.
In November of 1998, 2 new multi-plex theatre’s opened within 20 minutes of the theatre. It is too early to tell if the Washington Theatre will be effected but it definitely will place a burden on drawing customers from the surrounding towns. The artistic community and S.T.A.R.T. feel there is still hope for maintaining the original vision for the historic building. The anticipation is that the current owner will eventually see the expanded possibilities the building has to offer.
Once the theatre re-opened under new management, the S.T.A.R.T. web site had no real purpose. So, rather than let it go to waste, I decided to make an "artistic and historic" information center for Washington New Jersey and the surrounding towns. At the heart of it, whether it’s cinema, music, art, or dance, you will find that all things creative lead to "Theatre Street" because the world really is a stage. 🙂 webmaster