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Saving the Sattler | Arts & Culture

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Saving the Sattler
Arts & Culture
Saving the Sattler

A Statement Released by Buffalo's Young Preservationists

EAST SIDE - Buffalo’s Young Preservationists (BYP) came together on Sunday, February 17th to seal and secure a historic east side movie theater, the Sattler Theater at 512 Broadway.

Money for the materials came from a fundraiser BYP held in December to board up a building in need and the man power came from members’ donated time. BYP partnered with the owners, Western New York Minority Media Professionals (WNYMMP) in order to secure the building from vandals and provide some weatherization.

WNYMMP purchased the building from a negligent owner and saved it from demolition in 2008. They are currently fundraising for a full restoration to use the theater as multi-purpose community building for films, theatrical productions, concerts, and more.

The Sattler Theatre was built in 1914 by prominent Buffalo retailer, John G. Sattler, and replaced a wood-framed theater that previously occupied the site. It was designed by local architect, Henry L. Spann who designed many other Buffalo theaters along with his brother William T. Spann. The beautifully detailed terra cotta façade remains intact and in good condition.

Although elements of the interior have deteriorated due to water infiltration a large amount of original integrity remains. “It’s very important to make sure this building is secured and on the path to restoration,” said Mike Puma, founding member of BYP and professional preservationist at Preservation Studios. “The Sattler Theatre is the most intact east side neighborhood theater and still has a very bright future. During the 20th century there were close to two hundred theaters in Buffalo and only a handful remain, many of which have been altered beyond recognition.”

In his free time, Mike is researching the theater’s history to apply for National Register listing, which would help the owners to apply for grants to aid the restoration. More than a dozen people came out to lend a hand for over seven hours in the building. Chris Ziolkowski of Zee’s Property Services generously offered his time and equipment to pump out the flooded basement, which took the full seven hours. A makeshift wall that separated the balcony from the theater was removed to reopen the space as it was historically.

All the materials needed to board up the building cost less than $350. Additional photos of the theater and the work completed yesterday are available by following the link here.

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