Park Theater

1018 Penn Street,
Reading, PA 19601

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Park Theater

The Park Theater opened November 11, 1926. It was closed by a fire on May 19, 1978. On November 20, 1978 there was another fire at the Park Theater, by then an empty building. (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 21 comments)

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.

ROCKER4EVER on July 3, 2015 at 4:08 pm

If you Google News They have old Reading Eagles on there,I just looked at an ad for The Park Theater for Oct 30,1970,the ad says 1018 Penn Street. Features playing are The Playpen and Bride & The Beast

ROCKER4EVER on July 3, 2015 at 4:19 pm

It also says on the ad James S. Maurer’s Park Theater,can anyone shed light on that?

RickB on July 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Here is an issue of the Reading Eagle with a story on the demise of the theater on Page 1 and some of its history on Page 3. The fire that put the theater out of business came on May 19, 1978; the November 20 fire mentioned in the description just caused a little more damage to the ruins.

As for James Maurer, per the story he was operating the theater as a burlesque house in 1964, when he and two strippers were arrested in a raid. Sometime between 1974 and 1976 he bought the theater building; he is reported to have leased it to a Trenton, New Jersey company in September 1976, leading to the return of burlesque at the Park. However, Maurer must have still been involved in the operation of the theater as he was arrested in another raid in January 1977. On May 3, 1978, the city declared the theater and the adjoining Daniel Boone Hotel unfit for human habitation. Maurer appealed the ruling and both businesses stayed open, but the fire rendered the appeal moot.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 3, 2015 at 5:04 pm

Internet reveals that James S. Maurer was operator of the Park Theatre from at least as early as 1964. Ads for the theater from that year indicate that at least part of the time it was a live burlesque house. Other sources called it an art theater, but I think they were using the term euphemistically (meaning that it presented “adult” fare during that time period.)

This rather large PDF contains a scrapbook of clippings related to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and among them are a couple of items pertaining to the appearance at Maurer’s Park Theatre of an exotic dancer using the stage name Jada. Jada had purportedly been Dallas night club owner (and assassin of JKF assassin Lee Harvey Oswald) Jack Ruby’s girlfriend.

ROCKER4EVER on July 22, 2015 at 1:55 pm

yes it was used for burlesque as i found out by using Google News Search Archive and looking for old Reading Eagle newspapers. I highly recommend doing so but be prepared to spend some time as it is quite impossible to stop searching the old theater ads :)

ROCKER4EVER on July 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

anyone know how to copy and paste the ads on that Google News Search,I tried but couldnt do it,thanks

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 22, 2015 at 6:01 pm

ROCKER4EVER: Google News Archive displays images in Flash, so you can’t right-click to copy. You have to take a screenshot (use “PrtScr” key in the top row of your keyboard on most computers) and then open an image editing program (I use IrfanView, but there are a number of others, and there is also Windows Paint, which can be used to save a screenshot) and save the screenshot to it. If you have Windows 8, you have a feaure that saves screenshots directly to files, as described on this page.

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