Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments
Came across a history of the State Theater. It’s a bit confusing since apparently the name was used by two different theaters in different eras.
Here’s a link to some 2009 photos on Flickr. Looks like they covered the whole 2nd floor with metal panels. Personal opinion…it looks crappy.
I was in the State building one time for my wife’s class reunion. This is after it became “On Stage”. It’s last hurrah as a movie theatre was X rated films.
I can’t find anything on the fire that destroyed the back of the Academy, but my wife says it was in the fatal fire that destroyed the buildings from 7th street up to the Academy. Probably about 1986. After the HACC fire, the rest of the half block was demolished for the new HACC campus.
John, I live in Lebanon. John Heisey was owner of Lebanon Bus Co. and Lebanon Coach Co. He also was owner of the former Messick’s Food Market. I thought you might have been part of that branch of the Messick family.
There were two major fires in that block. One was the Greektown Pizza fire which had one fatality and destroyed about a half block of buildings. I think this is the fire that destroyed the rear of the Academy. The other was the Lebanon campus of HACC, the conversion of a closed department store. Caused by welding sparks, this destroyed several buildings and led to the death of a Lebanon fire fighter. I’ll see if I can find more on the Academy fire.
Hillary, I didn’t know about the flats being moved to the Colonial but if they were worth anything they were probably sold by the “investor” that bought the building at tax sale. I understand that he stripped anything of value before he abandoned it.
Mr.Messick, you probably don’t know me but I believe we had a mutual acquaintance in John Heisey.
I was on that tour of the Academy. We were not allowed in the balcony because it was in imminent danger of collapse.
Never heard the story of the bobcat. Pretty cool!Nice to hear from someone else who knew Gene Plank. He was a heck of a nice guy.
If memory serves me right, the building still was there in the mid 60’s, serving as a hardware store.
OK, if it was at Front and Green Sts., then it would have been right next to the Reading Railroad’s Lebanon Valley Branch. I’m sure they got lots of train noise.
Pretty close location. About a block to the left. The side fence ran very close to Las Vegas Drive. I spent my teen years at the corner of Kutztown Rd. and Leesport Ave. shown on the map. Worked there as a ramp boy for several years in the early 60’s.
Also, the Google map and image are of Penn Ave. in Wyomissing. Not even close.
Absolutely correct Chuck. 19601
Here is a photo taken in 2009 by Seth Gaines.
The building still exists. Here’s a link to a photo by Seth Gaines on Flickr.
Here is a link to a photo by Seth Gaines on Flickr. This was taken approx. 1 year ago. Looks like it has a store front on it now.
CinemaTour also lists the Ritz at 819 Penn St. They state that it was opened in 1941 and closed in 1951.
OK, here it is. The address was 730 Penn St.
Here’s a 1919 ad from the Arcadia looking to by used equipment, but they don’t give an address. It’s the 4th post down under “Business Opportunities”.
Here’s a picture I just came across in my files. The Astor in it’s glory.
After it was taken over by William Goldman it recieved the rounded marquee.
Guess I must be wrong about the Ritz. I found a photo in my files of Penn St. looking west from 8th Street. It shows the Astor, Warner, Embassy and Loews Colonial, but I don’t see anything else that looks like a theatre in the 800 block.
I’m certain that that is the same site as the Astor. I see that one of the owners of the Arcadia is listed as Carr and Schad. They were the owners of the Astor and Strand.
Before my time there was a theatre in the 100 block of North 5th Street. The building may still be there, on the east side of the street a few doors up from the Berkshire Hotel building. I believe at one time someone told me that it was the Arcadia.
If the address is correct for the Victor, it definately is the same address as the Astor, and I see the Victor was also built by Carr and Schad.
As far as the Ritz goes, I don’t remember any theatre building in the 800 block of Penn St. Maybe 719?
Looking at the picture and the address, I believe that is the same site as the later Astor Theatre. I’ll comment further on your Arcadia page.
I just noticed that the header on this post has the Park listed as 1022 Penn Street. More than likely that is the actual address.
I was wrong about the block. It WAS in the 1000 block of Penn St, probable address of 1028 Penn. BTW, Rt. 422 is Penn Avenue through West Reading. From the center of the Penn Street Bridge it becomes Penn Street through Reading, as far as 11th Street where it becomes Perkiomen Avenue. I just checked on Google maps, and that address looks right.
I stand corrected Mr. Wolfe, and my apologies for not remembering your name as Paul’s partner. Of course I would not question your information. I had the wrong Strand in mind. I might add that while I was an employee of the Reading Drive-In, Dick Fox did throw the best Christmas parties I’ve ever attended.
Shillington is a suburb of Reading. I was only in here once. That was to see “Blazing Saddles”.