Iris Theatre

3146 Kensington Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19134

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The Iris Theatre opened in 1910 on Kensington Avenue near Allegheny in Philadelphia.

It was located under the Frankford-Market el lines and when the train went by it was annoying. The Iris Theatre closed in 1969. It was for many years a shop for woman’s clothing and is now a dollar store.

Contributed by GEORGE MARINER

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

geormarin
geormarin on January 29, 2005 at 8:40 pm

the picture shows the Iris Theater as a corner property.the iris theater i remember was not on a corner.is it possible that the theater relocated?

deleted user
[Deleted] on January 30, 2005 at 2:49 pm

There was only one Iris Theatre and that theatre was located at 3146 Kensington Ave. It most likely was downsized over the years.

RickB
RickB on January 31, 2005 at 8:43 am

A Philadelphia Inquirer article in the ‘90s indicated that the auditorium may have still been largely intact at that time. Employees of the retail tenant said they had moved a drop ceiling panel in a back room, climbed up a ladder and took a peek; they said they were able to see seats and even exit signs that were still lit.

krolart
krolart on March 30, 2006 at 11:47 am

I remember the Iris. I had a few friends who worked there. It was not on the corner. It was small but I don’t think it was so small that it had only 600 seats like the Cameo on Frankford Avenue. The Iris had a sign in its box office window that servicemen in uniform were admitted for free. This was the policy until the theater closed.
Art S.

Coasterbear
Coasterbear on April 30, 2007 at 9:02 pm

I remember as a child seeing this movie theater and although I never saw any movies there I do remember it’s existence. From the picture posted in the prior post , it looks as though the theater was built even before the Frankford El was built. I do remember it being about one third down the block from Allegheny and was literally spitting distance from the Midway on Allegheny Ave. And i did know from friends that it had a balcony in it. It became a department store before I ever had a chance to attend.

johnm001
johnm001 on October 8, 2007 at 6:49 pm

I went to The Iris, many times. I would have said that it held more than 600 people. It wasn’t as large as The Kent or The Midway, but still, it has a balcony. Among others, I saw “The Cardinal” and “Gorgo” at The Iris.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 9, 2009 at 3:08 am

Here is an expanded view of the photo posted on 1/28/05:
http://tinyurl.com/mpfr4w

FWDpost
FWDpost on August 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

Worked there as an usher in 1955. It was towards the middle of the block, near the Woolworth’s, and had a balcony. I would lean towards 600 seats, since it had far lessseats that the Midway around the corner. Owner had a jaguar auto.

TheALAN
TheALAN on January 26, 2014 at 10:12 pm

3142-3148 Kensington Avenue is not a corner property. It is the sixth property from Allegheny Avenue — going towards G Street. There was only one Iris Theatre! The photo on the PAB site is not the same Iris Theatre. Also, the site that kencmcintyre references is not the same Iris Theatre either. There is no doubt that the present building is the original theater. A renovation occurred in 1916 but that was only six years after the theater opened. There are no visible clues from the outside as to what was done. Seating could have been reduced by the closing of the balcony but not by 807 seats. Since PAB still lists the theater with 1,407 seats, where did the 600 figure come from?

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