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The telephone number for this antique store/former theater is 814-459-2503.
I have further researched this theater and have found that it was built in 1914. It was originally called the Chickquitty Theater because its 2 original owners were named Charles “Chick” Phillips and Andy McQuitty. It apparently showed its last movie in 1967. It was razed about 3 or 4 years later.
I recall seeing this theater in 1991. I was taking the train across the country and down the Pacific coast to San Diego. In Portland there was a longer than usual stop. I had just happened to have met someone from Los Angeles who belonged to a group which was devoted to saving old Fox theaters. Since this theater was a short walk from the train station he suggested taking a look at it since by that time it was slated for demolition. I thought it was a beautiful building. I could not, cannot and will not understand anyone who, with casual deliberateness, would allow tangible history to slip through their fingers. And in a supposedly forward thinking and progressive city like Portland.
This theater’s name before it was converted to a social club was Harris Theater. It was presumably of the Harris chain.
The original name for this theater was the Strand. I believe in the late 50s or early 60s it was Erie’s “cinerama” theater.
It should be noted that briefly in the 1970s the Erie Playhouse used this theater as its home. The Penn was eventually closed because of not being up to code in fire regulations (a likely story one could say).
The Warner Theater used to have a theater organ. All I know about it is that it was sold (I think in the 1930s) to an armory in Cleveland, Ohio. I saw this organ inside the armory about 15 years ago. I recall that there was talk about recovering the organ when the Warner Theater was undergoing refurbishment. If anyone can supply more complete information about this organ they can e-mail me. I would like to know if there is any kind of movement in Erie to try and recover this organ for its rightful place in the Warner Theater. It could be used as a similar entertainment as the “Organ Grinder” in Toronto. Erie is a city which greatly lacks innovation and imagination,the result of which is a city which lives up to its epithet of “dreary”. People in Erie should show that for once their sights can be set higher than just another trip to the Millcreek Mall, McDonald’s (of which Erie has one for each of its 19 square miles) or the local grocery super emporium.