Perry Theatre

3900 Perrysville Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15214

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The Perry Theatre opened in January 1938 and was built for the Harris Amusement Co of Pittsburgh.

Located in north Pittsburgh on Perrysville Avenue at the corner of East Street. The classical deco style marquee (shaped like the prow of an ocean liner) and a massive tower feature dominated the corner site. The external surface of the tower was given an enamel iron treatment intended to ‘offset the effects of Pittsburgh’s smoke and soot’.

Any further information on this theatre would be appreciated.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 26, 2005 at 10:21 am

Whoops!, I forgot to put John Eberson in as architect, thanks lostmemory. Thanks also for the precise street address.

raubre
raubre on April 22, 2006 at 10:24 am

Has the buiding been demolished or vacant?

acmorrison
acmorrison on June 22, 2006 at 7:08 am

The Perry, initially called Harris Perry, was located at 3895-3897 Perrysville Avenue. An earlier theater, the North End, was located at 3908 Perrysville Avenue. It was called the Perry from 1921 to 1923. Eberson’s Perry seems to have been an across-the-street replacement.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 23, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Here is an interior photo from 1947:
http://tinyurl.com/3b6kry

Paul Fortini
Paul Fortini on September 24, 2007 at 9:13 pm

When did this theatre close? I have a book on Pittsburgh’s streetcars of the early 1960s and, in a photo taken circa 1961-1964, the Perry was already closed.

Wellington1
Wellington1 on September 27, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Here is an article I found in the Pittsburgh Press microfilms at Carnegie Library:

Wednesday, April 29, 1959
Perry Theater Closing Its Doors
One of Pittsburgh’s best known neighborhood theaters is closing its doors this weekend. The house lights will dim for the last time Sunday night at the Perry Theater on Perrysville Avenue at East Street, and the showing of THE JOURNEY with Yul Brenner and Deborah Kerr will close some 30 years of theater history. James Balmer, general manager for the John P. Harris Corp. which has operated the theater since it was built on the site of the old Drew homestead, confirmed cancellation of the lease today. The building’s future is uncertain, M. J. Zahniser, vice president of the Commonewealth Real Estate Co. which is managing the property for the Drew estate said he is entertaining several proposals for use of the building, but nothing definite can be announced now. There have been recurring reports that the building may be converted to use as a supermarket, but this was discounted in view of the lack of adequate off street parking. There is a possibility that the structure might be used as a bowling alley, Mr. Zahniser said. A Harris spokesman said all equipment will be removed excepting the seats and carpeting.


This theater was located right next door to Perry High and eventually the building was used as an annex to the school. When I attended school there in the 1970s, they held shop classes there. Within the past 10-15 years, the original building was torn down and replaced with a more modern structure as annex to the school. I believe they have a gym or swimming pool in the new facility.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on December 16, 2008 at 5:53 pm

This is from Boxoffice magazine, January 1938:

PITTSBURGH-Bids on the present contract for construction of the new theater for the Harris Amusement Company on Perrysville Avenue will be taken at an early date. John Eberson of New York is listed as the architect for the 1,200-seat theater. Building details will be announced soon.

SusanD
SusanD on January 27, 2010 at 11:54 am

My husband has a book on Pittsburgh Railways in the early 1960s. There are a couple of photos of Pittsburgh streetcars passing this theatre, which was already closed by this time.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

September 2nd, 1938 grand opening ad in photo section.

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