Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.


Shamokin, Northumberland County, native William H. Lee (1884-1971) was well known as an architect of theaters and academic buildings, designing more than two hundred movie theaters, including the Victoria Theatre in his hometown. Opened in 1918, Shamokin’s Victoria Theatre – known affectionately by generations of residents as “the Vickie” – was commissioned by the Chamberlain Amusement Company, an operator of several theaters in the region, which also had offices in the building. The elaborate Beaux-Arts style building accommodated not only motion pictures, but also stage performances. Even though the theater was cited as endangered by Preservation Pennsylvania in 1999, it was doomed. A drugstore chain demolished the local landmark the very year it was declared threatened.



In addition to designing the Vic­toria Theatre in Mount Carmel, Northumberland County, William H.Lee designed theaters in a num­ber of Pennsylvania communities, among them Pottsville, Norristown, Reading, Easton, Gettysburg, Danville, Hazleton, Bethlehem, Williamsport, Tamaqua, Ashland, Wellsboro, Norristown, Lansford, and Bryn Mawr. The Victoria The­atre in Mount Carmel, opened in 1922 by the Chamberlain Amuse­ment Company, of Shamokin, remained in operation through the twentieth century. An unusual chiseled decorative panel, located above the marquee, which is flanked by carved stone pilasters, distinguishes the edifice of the brick and frame building. The Vic­toria Theatre recalls the era when movie theaters were important amusement centers in small towns across America.