The Community Theatre was built on the land originally occupied by the Nelida Theatre. In the late 1800s, the Nelida Theatre opened and served as a roller/ice rink and town gathering center. Numerous plays, graduations and policemen's galas were held there.
In the early morning of January 1, 1917, a fire occurred that damaged some buildings on Main Street including the Nelida Theatre. In late 1917, an estimated 300 community residents purchased "shares" in the theatre and helped pay for the construction of The Community Theatre.
In 1920, the theatre opened to great success as a vaudevillian venue. The marble staircase, architecture and wall designs were created in a compound of art nouveau and art decco styles. For the next 50 years, the theatre served as host to dignitaries, notable entertainers and even gangsters. Gradually, live performances gave way to motion pictures.
In 1976, two important events in the theatre occurred. While the theatre was receiving its deposit of oil for its former heating system, a fire broke out and destroyed the lobby. The lobby was then reconstructed into a more "modern" design for the time. Additionally, the theatre's balcony was converted into a separate movie theatre.
Though most of the original architecture and design remains throughout the theatre, there have been various improvements made in the last 10 years. The outside marquee has been restored to reflect its classic 1940s cinema style; additionally, the theatre now offers state-of-the-art surround sound in both theatres. In 2012, a successful conversion from film to digital was made in both projection booths, ensuring that The Community Theatre will remain a historic Catskill landmark for many years to come.