The Teck Theater and Its 766 Main Street Location

1894 Atlas showing the location (of the Walden home, Music Halls and Teck Theater), the corner of Main and Edward Streets.
Site is shaded in green. Image: Buffalo City Atlas

Home of Judge Ebenezer Walden, mayor of Buffalo 1838-1839. Demolished in 1882 to make way for the first Music Hall.
Image source: Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.

The first Music Hall constructed at Main and Edward, 1883, designed by August Esenwein (later of Esenwein & Johnson fame). It formally opened in July 1883 during the North American Saengerfest. Erected by the German Young Men's Association, also called the Saengerhalle, it burned in 1885. (Buffalonians enjoyed their music here after that disaster.) Image source: Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.

Interior of the Music Hall. Image source: Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo.

The second Music Hall, built on the same site as the first in 1887, designed by Richard Waite. Image source: private collection.

Interior of the second Music Hall. Image source: Picture Book of Earlier Buffalo

New Theater Has Plenty of Color

Handsome Furnishings and Appropriate Settings Surround New Stock Co.

The opening of the new Teck Theater was the theatrical event of last evening in Buffalo. Shortly after 8 o'clock fully 2,000 people were waiting in the various lobbies to gain admission...

The theater is commodious; the seats, leather-covered and broad, are as comfortable as library chairs, and the decorations are handsome and effective. There is a lavish amount of color everywhere, and the stage settings last night corresponded with the general color scheme. The carpets, furniture, rugs, etc., furnished by D.E. Morgan Son & Allen Co., are rich and show artistic selection.

Many people were turned away last night, the advance sale last week having exhausted all space down stairs. Last night was not a responsive audience and it received the Shubert Stock Company with the calm indifference with which a Buffalo audience receives everything new. The work of the individual members of the company could scarcely be judged last evening. Tonight, when the flurry of the first night is over, and the company has settled down to real work, the discretion with which Mr. Shubert has selected his company will doubtless be shown.

Buffalo Evening News September 11, 1900
Program for the week of April 25, 1910. The theater seated 3,350 in 2 separate halls. Images: private collection.

Buffalo reporter, critic and author, Marian de Forest, wrote a dramatization of Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" in 1911; it was first performed in 1912 at the Teck Theater. It was later produced in New York and in 1919 the play opened in London with Katharine Cornell in the lead role. It continues to be performed to the present time.

The theater closed in 1933. In 1945, it was reborn as a movie theater, the Teck, much changed both inside and outside.

In the early 1980's, the NYS Department of Transportation engineered a "connector" whereby Pearl Street would be connected to Main Street, directing traffic onto Pearl from the Kensington Expressway. This would permit automobile traffic to travel downtown after much of Main Street was closed to vehicles following completion of the rapid transit line. In order to accomplish this angular linkage, much of the rear of the Teck was demolished.

Pull the arrow tab left or right to view a comparison of the 1901 and 2007 views.

The facade remained until 1992 when no viable re-use was found and it was demolished, creating a large vacant lot. Karl Josker has a photo of the facade on his site.

The lot has remained vacant since. In 2006, First Amherst Development Group announced its intention to develop the site of the Teck Theater and the Vernor building (visible in the 2007 photo above) into residential units. Although the owner of the adjacent Vernor building, Cleveland resident David Shifrin of Tech Associates, succeeded in obtaining a demolition order for the Vernor building and demolished it in 2007, the large vacant lot remains undeveloped in 2016.