Park Theater

1022 Penn Street,
Reading, PA 19601

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The Park Theater opened November 11, 1926. On November 20, 1978 there was a fire at the Park Theater. (Click the link below for a photo of the fire) This theater was demolished the following year.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

MikelD on July 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

I don’t recall a theater dead on the northeast corner. I believe there was a Reads department store which was later occupied as a music store. But there definitely was another theater on the north side of Penn Street called the Ritz. I cannot give you the exact location. I think it was somewhere between 7th and 9th. It was no longer open by the time I was old enough to roam Penn Street on my own as a kid. I never saw the inside. I was born in 1950 so it shut down most likey prior to 1958.

Speaking of “A Small Planet”, it sure is a small world. My mom worked at the candy counter of the Astor at the same time you mentioned being an usher there. If you were to remember her, you would probably know her as Josie. I spent a lot of time in that beautiful palace. In fact I seem to recall the space suit. I was a rather frequent fixture in those days. I must have saw 101 Dalmations 101 times

JimmiB on July 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

You’re right Mike. It was the Ritz. I believe it was next door to Reads. I think I do remember your mom. Really is a small world. Had you gone to the Ritz you’d know why it was called the Stinky. Place had a real musty smell. I think I was only in there once.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 3, 2011 at 5:50 am

The street name in the header needs to be changed from Penn Avenue to Penn Street. There is a Penn Avenue in Reading, so the Google Maps link currently fetches the wrong location. The caption for the photos Lost Memory linked to in the preceding comment gives the location of the Park as the 1000 block of Penn Street.

The “Related Websites” link in the intro is dead, by the way.

JimmiB on January 3, 2011 at 9:09 am

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.

JimmiB on January 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 3, 2011 at 5:14 pm

JimmiB: Please take a look at my recent comments on the Arcadia Theatre page. There’s a link to a 1909 magazine item about a theater, originally called the Victor, at 748 Penn Street. At first I thought it might have been the theater you knew in the 1950s as the stinky Ritz, but Ken Roe found a different address for the Ritz. It’s possible that the Victor didn’t last long, in which case you still might reconize the building as the location of some other business.

JimmiB on January 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm

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.

JimmiB on July 9, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Absolutely correct Chuck. 19601

JimmiB on July 9, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Also, the Google map and image are of Penn Ave. in Wyomissing. Not even close.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 12, 2014 at 5:40 pm

The November 11, 1926, issue of the Reading Times said that the Park Theatre would open that night. The opening feature was Her Big Night, starring Laura LaPlante, plus there were vaudeville acts, an organ recital, and the Park Orchestra.

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