Naylor’s Theatre Originally built in 1901, the theatre played an important role in entertaining the people of Deseronto for over fifty years. It was a venue for vaudeville acts in the early years of the twentieth century, while in the 1940s and 50s it was used as a movie theatre. The building has been unused for a number of years. Thomas J. Naylor Naylor was of Irish descent and was born in Deseronto on October 31, 1867, a few months after the death of his father (also named Thomas). His mother ran a bakery (the building still stands at 380 Main Street, Deseronto) and Thomas attended the Dominion Commercial College in Kingston in the late 1880s. In the 1891 census his occupation is given as ‘baker’. During the 1890s he gave ballroom dancing lessons in Deseronto and became involved in booking vaudeville acts for a number of venues in the area. Naylor’s Opera House was in operation by the mid-1890s, originally in the Independence Hall. By 1901 the building at the corner of Prince and Main Streets was open for business, although Naylor himself was injured during its construction. Naylor was active on Deseronto Town Council, serving as Reeve between 1912 and 1921. Thomas Naylor died on August 11, 1924, aged 56. He is buried in Deseronto Cemetery (plot 276C).   Architectural Highlights The building was designed by Thomas Hanley, an architect active in Belleville between 1878 and 1902. Hanley was also responsible for St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church [site 35] and the impressive Second Empire-style Glanmore House in Belleville, built in 1882-1883. and now a national historic site. Worthy of note is the rich terra cotta, a fired clay which was often used for ornamental exterior decoration in the 19th century. Deseronto had a terra cotta factory, operated by the Rathbun Company and on the Naylor’s Theatre, one sees theatrical faces, nautilus shells and many other details The original theatre building featured:   · Stage for up to 25 performers · Parallelogram-shaped floor plan, due to the lot shape · Seating for 400 on the main floor · Balcony seating for 150 · Two boxes for VIPs · Terra cotta external detailing · Copper roof Performances Vaudeville shows visited Deseronto for two or three days at a time, with pre-show parades taking place in Main Street. Music, comedy and drama were all represented in the shows that came to Deseronto. Silent movies were shown here and the theatre was also used for performances by local schools and societies and for political meetings. The theatre closed after Thomas Naylor’s death in 1922, to reopen as the Deseronto Bayview Theatre in 1947, under the management of Stan Marek. ’The Show’ was a popular place to go to see the latest movies, and there are still fond memories of its popcorn to be found in Deseronto today. The doors of the theatre closed once more in 1961, with most of the seats being sold to the Lennox Theatre Guild in Napanee (they are now in use at Selby Village Theatre). The building is now only a shell, but was acquired by the Deseronto Arts and Culture Society (DACS), which hopes to return the structure to use as a performance venue .

(Click on the image above for a closer look.)

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Naylor’s Theatre

Originally built in 1901, the theatre played an important role in entertaining the people of Deseronto for over fifty years. It was a venue for vaudeville acts in the early years of the twentieth century, while in the 1940s and 50s it was used as a movie theatre. The building has been unused for a number of years.

Thomas J. Naylor

Naylor was of Irish descent and was born in Deseronto on October 31, 1867, a few months after the death of his father (also named Thomas). His mother ran a bakery (the building still stands at 380 Main Street, Deseronto) and Thomas attended the Dominion Commercial College in Kingston in the late 1880s. In the 1891 census his occupation is given as ‘baker’. During the 1890s he gave ballroom dancing lessons in Deseronto and became involved in booking vaudeville acts for a number of venues in the area.
Naylor’s Opera House was in operation by the mid-1890s, originally in the Independence Hall. By 1901 the building at the corner of Prince and Main Streets was open for business, although Naylor himself was injured during its construction. Naylor was active on Deseronto Town Council, serving as Reeve between 1912 and 1921. Thomas Naylor died on August 11, 1924, aged 56. He is buried in Deseronto Cemetery (plot 276C).
 
Architectural Highlights
The building was designed by Thomas Hanley, an architect active in Belleville between 1878 and 1902. Hanley was also responsible for St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church [site 35] and the impressive Second Empire-style Glanmore House in Belleville, built in 1882-1883. and now a national historic site.

Worthy of note is the rich terra cotta, a fired clay which was often used for ornamental exterior decoration in the 19th century. Deseronto had a terra cotta factory, operated by the Rathbun Company and on the Naylor’s Theatre, one sees theatrical faces, nautilus shells and many other details

The original theatre building featured:
· Stage for up to 25 performers
· Parallelogram-shaped floor plan, due to the lot shape
· Seating for 400 on the main floor
· Balcony seating for 150
· Two boxes for VIPs
· Terra cotta external detailing
· Copper roof

Performances
Vaudeville shows visited Deseronto for two or three days at a time, with pre-show parades taking place in Main Street. Music, comedy and drama were all represented in the shows that came to Deseronto. Silent movies were shown here and the theatre was also used for performances by local schools and societies and for political meetings.
The theatre closed after Thomas Naylor’s death in 1922, to reopen as the Deseronto Bayview Theatre in 1947, under the management of Stan Marek. ’The Show’ was a popular place to go to see the latest movies, and there are still fond memories of its popcorn to be found in Deseronto today.
The doors of the theatre closed once more in 1961, with most of the seats being sold to the Lennox Theatre Guild in Napanee (they are now in use at Selby Village Theatre). The building is now only a shell.