The Capitol Theatre opened on New Year’s Eve in 1917 right across the street from the Royal Connaught Hotel. Only three years after the luxury hotel.
A Marcus Loew project, the name famous for theatres in the United States and a pioneer of the motion picture industry. He personally saved the film “Ben-Hur”. Travelling to Italy to review set issues. Loew replaced the director, lead actor and writer sealing his involvement with the production company MGM.
The architect was Thomas Lamb. Born in Scotland but known for structures in North America. Including The Pantages in Toronto and the 3rd Madison Square Garden in New York City (built in 1925, demolished for the modern structure in 1969).
With over 2,200 seats, the Capitol Theatre stood as Canada’s 2nd largest movie theatre. The interior brought crowds from all over with its Russian leather seats, plush carpeting, marble in the lobby and a massive stain glass dome over the auditorium.
A sad day in Hamilton history comes in 1973 when the auditorium is demolished for a parking lot. All that remains of the grand theatre is a 2nd floor façade. The only reminder of the mind of Loew, style of Lamb and prosperity of Hamilton.
The Lady in Brown
Like the Lady in White of the Royal Connaught, the Lady in Brown is known for her dress. This one brown and ragged and seen by patrons of the last business in the building, Joe Buttinsky’s Bar & Grill.
A Story not Featured on the Downtown Hamilton Ghost Walks – –
A group of men run out of beer just as a waitress arrives with a new pitcher. The men didn’t look up, didn’t see her odd look and old brown dress unlike the other waitresses.
When one finally looks, the woman smiles and disappears. The pitcher crashes to the floor.
But who is The Lady in Brown?
There’s a legend about a former manager passed down from the time of the Capitol Theatre. Employees thought him psychotic. Not afraid of being fired, but being physically hurt.
They kept quiet around him, even when the man brought his wife into the theatre and locked her in the office so she, “couldn’t get up to no good”.
One day they heard arguing. Inside the office, yelling, her crying and silence. They only saw the manager come out of the office but told themselves she must have been embarrassed, waited till we went home.
But they would were wrong. The wife didn’t come out. To this day her corpse remains inside that wall…
**For more ghost stories and dark history join us on the Ghost Walks of Downtown Hamilton