Address: 530 Eastern Parkway, corner of Nostrand Avenue
Name: Philadelphian Sabbath Church, formerly Kameo Theater, formerly Cameo Theater
Neighborhood: Crown Heights South
Year Built: 1924
Architectural Style: Egyptian influenced Art Deco
Architects: Eugene Wiseman
Way back when, before I moved to Brooklyn, I sang with a choir that made a guest trip to this church. I remember I didn’t know where I was, but that the church, obviously a former theater, was very cool.
When I moved to Bed Stuy and wandered over here one day, what a pleasant surprise. Now that I live in the neighborhood, I really wanted to know the story.
Here it is. The building was opened as the Cameo Theater in February of 1924. One of it’s unique features was its 1500 seat roof garden theater, which opened in June of 1924.
In 1925, the Loew’s chain took over the theater and renamed it the Kameo. It remained a movie theater until 1974, after which it was sold to the church.
Although it needs to have the grime of the city removed, the terra-cotta ornament is well preserved and highly unusual. The structure of the roof theater remains as well.
Inside, the church has preserved many of the original details. A British theater buff named Ken Roe was able to tour the building in 2006, and posted his photos on Flickr, one of which are above.
The architect, Eugene Wiseman, was a veteran theater architect. It’s an unusual building, and along with the former Kings County Savings Bank across Eastern Parkway, forms our own Deco corner in Crown Heights.