The Lyric Theater in Hartford opened on September 1, 1923, designed by architect Edward T. Wiley (who also designed the city’s Art Cinema). The 1,000-leather-upholstered-seat movie theater was owned by the Park Street Investment Company.
A September 3, 1923 article in the Hartford Courant noted that the Lyric also housed the West Side Athletic Club, an assembly hall for community gatherings (including weekly Saturday night dances), and retail stores such as the Ladies’ Specialty Shop, where “smart women’s wear will be sold at prices that are moderate.”
The theater was later leased to Warner Brothers, according to Kevin Flood at HartfordHistory.net). In the 1970s, it closed, and was acquired by the city, sitting vacant and gradually deteriorating. Plans for redevelopment have been in the works for several years.
At the end of March 2010, the city moved urgently to demolish a portion of the building because it was in imminent danger of collapse. Real Hartford documented some of the demolition. The city allocated $800,000 for 2010-2011 to try to preserve the rest of the building, and established a Save the Lyric Fund to collect public donations toward the cause.
Donation checks made payable to “City of Hartford,” with the memo line reading “Lyric Theater Fund,” may be sent to 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103.