Today we spotlight the work of Beachwood man Joseph Jerue, who was a builder, World War II veteran (along with both of his sons – one of whom, John, was lost during battle) and mayor of the borough.
Joseph Jerue in his official World War II service photo. This photo originally hung along those of other Beachwood servicemen in the Beachwood Circle Shop during the war.
In 1937, Mayor Jerue, then 41 years old, was named the builder of a prominent cultural site on Washington Street in downtown Toms River, the Community Theatre. To our benefit, its construction and featured amenities were detailed in an issue of Box Office Magazine in August of that year. Below you’ll find that article in full. We hope you enjoy this look back to an era and its architecture that one particularly prolific Beachwood resident helped make possible.
Reprinted material courtesy Ken Bacon and Box Office Magazine.
Toms River Community Theatre as it appeared after its construction, in 1937. Today it has been renovated into shops and eateries.
A new modern theatre with a seating capacity of 1,000 persons was recently erected on Washington Street in Toms River, New Jersey. Definitely out of the ordinary in design and decor, the new edifice reflects the most contemporary expressions of architectural composition.
It is operated by the American Community Theatres, Inc.
Unlike most modern theatres, with their brilliantly lighted marquees and electric signs over the entrance, this theatre with its simple Colonial front presents a decidedly novel appearance. Its architectural simplicity is pronounced.
The theatre is set back 30 feet from the sidewalk and the intervening portion of the property in front of the theatre is beautifully landscaped and circumvented by a flagged walk of unique design which serves as a delightful approach to and departure from the theatre.
The Washington Street facade is of red facebrick with white joints, in front of which is a beautifully designed Colonial portico done in wood and painted white.
The ticket booth is situated in the center of the entrance screen of doors. Lattice work above the entrance doors and the circular windows above the lattice work are constructed of wood and glass. All portico in wood and painted white, against the masterly executed red and white masonry background presents a simple but beautiful facade.
In the evening this facade is illuminated by flood lights which increase the beauty and interest of the architectural simplicity to a spectacular degree. The same simplicity of design is followed throughout the interior of the auditorium.
The sidewalls are of acoustical plaster integrally colored to a neutral shade. Subtly concealed vertical lighting troughs along the sidewalks are provided with varied colored lamps, lending a beautiful and variable color scheme to the interior.
The foyer, promenade, ladies’ cosmetic room and the men’s room are also of simple modern design, the beauty of which is greatly enhanced by exquisite lighting fixtures, carpets and furnishings.
The auditorium is provided with exceptionally wide chairs spaced to provide the maximum comfort for the patrons. The floors are carpeted with rich, heavy, exquisite carpet which helps to promote finer acoustical treatment for sound reception.
Particular attention was given to the gradient of the auditorium floor to insure every patron a perfect view of the screen, no matter where he is seated.
A new modern ventilating system was installed to assure the occupants of a healthful and comfortable atmosphere while they are being entertained. The projection room and sound equipment in this theatre are of the finest known to modern science.
The Toms River Community Theatre is a delightful example of the modern functionally furnished theatre. It was designed and erected under the supervision of Thomas W. Lamb, Inc., architects. The builder was Joseph E. Jerue, of Beachwood, N. J.
The Community Theatre's billing was found in this photograph taken in Disbrow's Market, on Beachwood Boulevard, one year after the above article was written - August 1938.