Thomas W. Lamb
|Thomas W. Lamb|
Dundee, Scotland, UK
New York City, USA
|Alma mater||Cooper Union|
|Practice||Thomas W. Lamb, Inc.|
|Buildings||Fox Theatre, San Francisco, 1929;
Madison Square Garden, 1925
Born in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom, Thomas W. Lamb came to the United States at the age of 12. He studied architecture at the Cooper Union school in New York and initially worked for the City of New York as an inspector. His architecture firm, Thomas W. Lamb, Inc., was located at 36 West 40th Street in Manhattan, New York.
Lamb achieved recognition as one of the leading architects of the boom in movie theater construction of the 1910s and 1920s. Particularly associated with the Fox Theatres, Loew's Theatres and Keith-Albee chains of vaudeville and film theaters, Lamb was instrumental in establishing and developing the design and construction of the large, lavishly decorated theaters, known as "movie palaces", as showcases for the films of the emerging Hollywood studios. His first theater design was the City Theatre, built in New York in 1909 for film mogul William Fox. His designs for the 1914 Mark Strand Theatre, the 1916 Rialto Theatre and the 1917 Rivoli Theatre, all in New York's Times Square, set the template for what would become the American movie palace.
Among his most notable theaters are the 1929 Fox Theatre in San Francisco and the 1919 Capitol Theatre in New York, both now demolished. Among his most noted designs that have been preserved and restored are the B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre in Boston (1928) (now the Boston Opera House), Warner's Hollywood Theatre (1930) in New York (now the Times Square Church), and the Loew's Ohio Theatre (1928) in Columbus, Ohio. Among Lamb's Canadian theaters that have been preserved is the Pantages Theatre in Toronto (1920) (now the Ed Mirvish Theatre). The Cinema Treasures website, which documents the history of film theaters, lists 174 theaters designed by Lamb's company.
Aside from movie theaters, Lamb is noted for designing (with Joseph Urban) New York's Ziegfeld Theatre, a legitimate theater, as well as the third Madison Square Garden (1925) and the Paramount Hotel in midtown Manhattan.
John J. McNamara
During the last ten years of his practice, Lamb's associate was the architect John J. McNamara. After Lamb's death, McNamara continued as an architect of theaters under his own name. McNamara was responsible for renovating some of Lamb's older New York theaters, and among his original designs was one for the 1969 Ziegfeld Theatre in Manhattan, which replaced Lamb's original building.
Selected theater designs
The United Palace Theater, formerly Loew's 175th Street Theatre, New York, 1930 (2009)
- Academy of Music, New York City, 1927 (later became the Palladium nightclub)
- B.F. Keith Memorial Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, 1928
- Capitol Theatre, New York City, 1919
- Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York, 1926
- Cort Theatre, New York City, 1912
- Empire Theater (formerly Eltinge 42nd Street Theatre), New York City, 1912
- Fenway Theatre, Boston, 1915
- Fox Theatre, San Francisco, California, 1929
- Franklin Square Theatre, Worcester, Massachusetts, 1927
- Hippodrome, New York City, 1923 redesign
- Keith-Albee Theatre, Flushing, Queens, New York, 1928
- Keith-Albee Theatre, Huntington, West Virginia, 1928
- Keith-Albee Palace Theatre, Columbus, Ohio, 1926
- Keith-Albee Palace Theatre, Stamford, Connecticut, 1927
- Lincoln Theatre, Lincoln Road, South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, 1936
- Loew's 72nd Street Theatre, New York City, 1930
- Loew's 175th Street Theater, New York City, 1930
- Loew's and United Artists' Ohio Theatre, Columbus, Ohio, 1928
- Loew's Grand Theatre, Atlanta, Georgia, 1932 redesign 
- Loew's Midland Theatre, Kansas City, Missouri, 1927
- Loew's Pitkin Theatre, Brooklyn, New York, 1928
- Loew's State Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio, 1920
- Loew's State Theatre, Times Square, New York City, 1924
- Loew's State Theatre, New Orleans, Louisiana, 1926
- Loew's Theatre, New Rochelle, New York,1925
- Loew's State Theatre, Syracuse, New York, 1928
- Madison Square Garden, New York City, 1925
- Madison Theater, Albany, New York, 1929
- Mark Strand Theater, New York City, 1914
- Maryland Theatre, Hagerstown, Maryland, 1915
- Municipal Auditorium, Birmingham, Alabama, 1924
- Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, Cleveland, Ohio, 1921
- Orpheum Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, 1915 redesign
- Poli's Majestic Theatre, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1922
- Poli's Palace Theatre, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1922
- Pythian Temple, Manhattan, 1927, the spacious theater the building once housed is gone; the facade remains.
- Proctor's 58th Street Theatre, New York City, 1928
- Proctor's 86th Street Theatre, New York City, 1927
- Proctor's Theatre, Schenectady, New York, 1926
- Reade’s State Theatre, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1921
- Regent Theatre, New York City, 1913
- Ridgewood Theatre, Ridgewood, New York, 1916
- Rivoli Theatre, New York City, 1917
- Stanley Theatre, Utica, New York, 1928
- State Theatre, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, 1922
- Strand Theatre, Lakewood, New Jersey, 1922
- Tivoli Theatre, Washington, DC, 1924
- Victoria Theater, New York City, 1917
- Warner Theatre, Torrington, Connecticut, 1931
- Warner's Hollywood Theatre, New York City, 1930
- Ziegfeld Theatre, New York City (with Joseph Urban), 1927
- The Sanderson Centre, Brantford, Ontario, 1919; auditorium restored in 1990, currently a performing arts centre
- Capitol Theatre, Hamilton, Ontario, 1920; all but lobby demolished in 1973
- Capitol Theatre, Windsor, Ontario, 1920; currently a performing arts centre.
- Pantages Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, 1920
- Uptown Theatre, Toronto, Ontario, 1920; demolished in 2003
In 1920, Lamb designed for himself a private summer home in the Adirondacks in the village of Elizabethtown, New York. The house, which is still extant as a residence, is situated on the Boquet River. The eight-bedroom manor, referred to today as Cobble Mountain Lodge, is a shingle and cobble stone design marked by the whimsy of a stone turret.
- "THOMAS W. LAMB, 71; A NOTED ARCHITECT". New York Times. February 27, 1942.
- Pound, Richard W. (2005). 'Fitzhenry and Whiteside Book of Canadian Facts and Dates'. Fitzhenry and Whiteside.
- Dunlap, David W. (May 9, 1988). "John J. McNamara, an Architect And Theater Designer, Dies at 90". New York Times.
- Morrison, William (1999). Broadway Theatres: History and Architecture (trade paperback). Dover Books on Architecture. Mineola, New York: Dover Publications. p. 82. ISBN 0-486-40244-4.
- Morrison, p. 82
- Cinema Treasures
- http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/userfiles/HTML/nts_1_8090_1.html Ontario Heritage Trust Loew's Yonge Street and Winter Garden Theatres
- Archives of Ontario
- The Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre
- Cinema Treasures' List of theatres designed by Thomas W. Lamb.
- Thomas W. Lamb works in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
- Gray, Christopher, Streetscapes: Thomas W. Lamb’s Theaters, An Architect for Stage and Screen, Wired New York, October 5, 2008