Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

New Jersey Historic Trust Affiliated with the Department of Community Affairs

Rahway Theater

New Jersey Historic Preservation Bond Program
Grant Award: $315,000 (1992)
Grant Recipient: Union County Arts Center
County: Union
Municipality: Rahway

The Union County Arts Center, originally known as the Rahway Theater, is an excellent example of "Movie Palace" architecture. Designed in the classical revival style by New York architect David M. Oltarsch, the Rahway Theater was constructed in 1927-1928. The Theater functioned as a vaudeville theater during its first few years and contains an authentic, working Wurlitzer pipe organ, originally installed to accompany silent films.

The Trust grant helped fund the restoration of the theater to its 1928 movie and vaudeville house appearance. Work included repointing and cleaning of exterior brickwork, repairing windows and entrance doors, replacing the roof to ensure a watertight building, restoring decorative plaster finishes in the main auditorium, and refurbishing the theater seating.

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