Borough of Yeadon Votes to Demolish Yeadon Theatre
YEADON, PA — The Borough Council of Yeadon has voted 6-1 in favor of razing the 1937 Yeadon Theatre, an Art Moderne movie house which is one of the last John Eberson-designed theaters in the Philadelphia area, according to a story in the Daily Times. A fire on January 8th caused extensive damage to the theater, which was already in poor shape in 2003 when demolition of the Yeadon was halted at the last moment (after a wrecking ball already knocked down the rear wall of the theater).
It was hoped that the facade and lobby of the theater would be salvaged, but according to Borough President Vivian Ford, only a few elements will be saved, including the theater’s name from the marquee, exit signs, and bricks. “Environmentally, it’s not safe,” says Ford, “There’s mold and rodents. It’s an accident waiting to happen. If there’s nothing salvageable, I don’t think we should keep it. For the good of our community, I’d rather see it go.”
Architect Margaret Westfield, a preservation specialist, reported to the Borough that “all significant interior fixtures and finishes” that made the landmark worth saving were ruined in the arson fire in January. Westfield says, “The tangible fabric that illustrated architect John Eberson’s Art Moderne vision for the theater’s interior was completely lost”.
Greg Wax, owner of the Narberth Theatre, has set up a meeting with Ford to discuss his idea for converting the Yeadon into a modern two or three-screen movie house with stadium seating. “A thriving neighborhood theater can make a world of difference to the borough,” says Wax. “I’ve seen buildings like this torn down and then everyone’s unhappy because it’s a big empty lot”. Ford says that borough does not have any immediate plans for the redevelopment of the site, but has agreed to meet with interested parties, such as Wax, to discuss options.