From the Vault: Majestic Theater

Dee Bowers

This From the Vault post was originally written by Tess Colwell and published on January 27, 2016 by the Brooklyn Historical Society. To see the latest Photo of the Week entries, visit the Brooklynology blog home, or subscribe to our Center for Brooklyn History newsletter.

Color photograph of Fulton Street showing the Majestic Theater and other businesses under blue skies
[View of Fulton Street.], 1959, V1974.9.13; John D. Morrell photographs, ARC.005; Brooklyn Public Library, Center for Brooklyn History.

The photo of the week depicts a view of Fulton Street, including the Majestic Theater, in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn in 1959. The Majestic Theater opened in 1904 and was known for a variety of theatrical performances, including opera, musicals, and vaudeville. By 1942, the Majestic Theater became a first-run movie theater, and later a church. Not long after this photograph was taken (in 1968), the Majestic Theater closed its doors permanently, and remained that way for two decades.

Harvey Lichtenstein, Brooklyn Academy of Music President and Executive Producer, raised funds to renovate the theater and it re-opened in 1987 with many of the original elements and details. Today, the former Majestic Theater is the Harvey Theater at BAM, showcasing a variety of creative performances and productions.

This photograph comes from the John D. Morrell photographs collection. Morrell was an assistant librarian at Brooklyn Historical Society (formerly Long Island Historical Society) for many years. The collection includes documentary-style photographs depicting almost every Brooklyn neighborhood from 1957 to 1974. To view more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from CBH’s collections? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images, or the digital collections portal at Brooklyn Public Library. We welcome appointments to research our entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections. Our reference staff is available to help with your research! You can reach us at


This blog post reflects the opinions of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of Brooklyn Public Library.


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