Shea's Garden Theatre

164–170 Pearl Street, near Niagara Street / Buffalo, NY

Casino Palm Theatre: 1887 / Shea’s Garden Theatre: 1898–1905 / Garden Theatre: 1906–1920 / Empire Theatre: 1920–1922 / Garden Theatre: 1922–1928
(Converted into a garage in 1928. Torn down in 1935)

In 1898, Shea decided to capitalize on entertainment for the “common man” by opening the first vaudeville theatre in Buffalo,
called Shea’s Garden Theatre. In fact, Shea was one of the first men in the U.S. to start a vaudeville house and he is credited
with helping to improve the reputation of this new form of entertainment targeted at the growing urban middle class.

In 1900, Shea beautified his vaudeville theater, hoping to make it one of the top vaudeville houses in the country; many who
visited agreed that he accomplished his goal. In addition, in an effort to improve the reputation of this new form of entertainment,
he banned smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages in his theater.

New York Clipper; August 22, 1903

—At Shea's Garden Theatre current bill consists of James Thornton, Chas. H Bradshaw and company, Pat Rooney and Emma Francis,
Beatrice Moreland, Stanley and Wilson, the Lucandos, Ellis-Nowlan Trio, Artie Hall

The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 93 - 1904 (pg611)

Dear Mr Hartt,
As I never asked a favor of you before in all my life I feel free to ask one now.
Please have the goodness to meet me at the stage entrance of Shea's Garden
Theatre at eight o clock any evening next week Wear a pink carnation in your
buttonhole so I shall know you. Don t tell any one except your wife and family.

Sincerely yours,
The Girl with the Auburn Hair

New York Dramatic Mirror; May 20, 1905 (pg20)
Keith's Theatres Vaudeville Booking: Shea's Garden Theatre, - Buffalo, N. Y.

— Shea's week 8 offered Milton and Dolly Nobles, Kelly and Violette, Keno, Welsh and Melrose
Treloar, West and Van Siclen, Juggling McBanns, Searl and Violet Allen. Hoey and Lee -- good business

- Buffalo Commercial / June 13, 1903 (pg.5) -

Programs available from this theatre:

  • Vaudeville Program (October 30, 1899)

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