If you've ever been to Belfast, chances are you've at the very least caught a glimpse of "Hawthorne" the big gray elephant that sits trumpeting atop the purple, green and red Colonial Theatre building.

The Colonial has been a fixture in downtown Belfast since the day the Titanic set sail in 1912.

According to its website:

"In those days live acts preceded the films so a stage was required in addition to the screen..."

The original building burned down during a fire 12 years later and what was rebuilt in its place is what is standing today. The Art-Deco style stucco façade was added in the late 1940s.

Colonial Theatre, Facebook
Colonial Theatre, Facebook

"During most of its life, the theatre was owned by the Kurson family which operated theatres all over New England from their base in the Boston Theatre District.

In 1995 the Colonial Theatre was purchased by local residents, Therese Bagnardi and Michael Hurley, from the second generation of theatre-operating Kursons who at 80 years old, were quite ready to retire."

According to WABI TV 5, Hurley and Bagnardi say it's time for a new chapter in the theater's life, and they hope to be able to visit there, as patrons next.

"They say they’ll still be around town as the community in Belfast has meant a great deal to them."

The website says that as of Sunday, September 18, the Colonial will be closed until someone else decides to take it over. The building is listed with Worth Real Estate.

Hurley and Bagnardi offer a message to those who might be thinking about taking it over.

"When we took over the theatre the lobby was filled with a videotape rental shop, there was no internet, kids used payphones to get a ride home, real 35 mm film rolled through the projectors, the restrooms looked like a place not to linger, and there were just two tired old screens. Today there are three fully modernized digital theatres including the grand ‘Dreamland’ with balcony, and the Colonial Theatre is doing well and positioned comfortably to go another hundred years.  It is time for the next generation of people who love movies, theatre, community, and the public to present life at The Colonial Theatre."

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