On March 23, Northport Historical Society board and staff members joined theatergoers at the John W. Engeman Theater as Curator Terry Reid and Executive Director Caitlyn Shea presented co-owners of the theater Kevin O’Neill and Richard Dolce with the Northport Icon Award which honors the people and businesses that helped shape the Village of Northport.
After a fire in April 1932 left Northport’s first movie house (located at 256 Main Street) in ashes, The Northport Theater opened its doors on the site at 248-250 Main Street on November 23, 1932. The new theater was outfitted with 754 seats and offered the “latest and most popular pictures on the cinema screen” at the time. Although it changed hands several times, the movie theater remained in operation until 1999.
On June 30, 2006, Huntington resident and entrepreneur Kevin O’Neill and his wife, Patti, purchased the Northport Theater. O’Neill then partnered with theater expert and attorney, Richard Dolce, who had been running the Broadhollow Theater Company, to convert the Northport Theater into a year-round professional live theater. In tribute to Patti’s brother, Chief Warrant Officer Four John William Engeman, who was killed in Iraq on May 14, 2006, they renamed the theater the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport.
The Northport Icon Award coincides with the Northport Historical Society’s current exhibit, Iconic Northport, which opened last summer. Other recipients include Tim Hess/The Shipwreck Diner, The Weber Family/Seymour’s Boatyard, The Great Cow Harbor 10K Race,The Northport Yacht Club and Vincent Terranova/Jones Drug Store.