Capitol Theatre

126 Beltzhoover Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15210

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After determining that his Climax Theatre was too small, Richard Jones went looking for a larger facility. He found it at the corner of Beltzhoover Avenue and Warrington Avenue in the south side Pittsburgh district of Beltzhoover. There was a church building there which had been partially damaged by fire and was not being used. Behind the building – on Warrington Avenue – was a three story frame parsonage. Jones bought the property, and with a total investment of $60,000 restored the church building into a fine movie theatre which, unusual for the time, had air-conditioning which made it extremely attractive to patrons during the summer months. The Capitol Theatre opened on January 17, 1920 and was highly successful from the start.

However changes were on the horizon: It became clear after a few years, with the proliferation of movie shorts with sound, that it was only a matter of time before it would be obligatory to make a major investment is sound technology to stay competitive. Rather than make the investment himself, Richard sold the Capitol Theatre to a competitor on January 26, 1926 for $1000,000.

The Capitol Theatre was known locally as the ‘Boom-Boom’ because of its pipe organ, which had some sort of wiring problem that caused it to periodically and spontaneously play its bass drum.

The Capitol Theatre Closed in 1965. The last movies shown were “Pyjama Party” and Elvis Presley in “Roustabout” according to the Pittsburgh Press, January 3, 1965. It was demolished many years ago.

Contributed by Rick Aubrey, wurli2, Mary Couse

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

edblank on June 3, 2008 at 8:36 pm

One of many Capitol theaters in and around Pittsburgh, this one was in the Beltzhoover section of Pittsburgh.

It may have been called the New Capitol when it opened in 1919 with a reported 750 seats. Later listings indicate it had 650-690 seats and more specifically the 663 mentioned by Rick Aubrey.

The address may have been 120, 124 or 126 Beltzhoover or may have enveloped all of that street frontage.

By 1973 it was a boarded up service station. By 1983 it was Village Pest Control. The property is listed now as being owned by CMN Management LLC.

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