733 McKean Avenue,
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The Liberty Theatre was one of three movie houses in Donora. The others were the Princess Theatre (also long demolished) and the Harris Theatre.
Primarily wooden construction, including the floor. Older style with a flat marquee, no room for letters, that ran the length of the front. ‘Liberty’ was in green neon top to bottom, two stories high on the left of the marquee.
The Liberty Theatre was a first run theatre that must have dated to the silent days since we found several old posters backstage that came from the 1920’s. The most recent found were probably around 1970 or so. After that it became the local adult house which lasted until maybe 1976 or so. Final run was in maybe 1978 with second run family type fare.
To be honest, what killed it was the family fare. The local kids came in by the busloads and chased away everyone else. Then they abandoned it when security was hired to control them. Too late to turn it around.
It was already carved up when we worked for the last operator so no real knowledge, other than the marquee, as to how the lobby area looked. Seating area was untouched with what were probably the original chairs. Backstage was big enough for stage shows and the then apartment in back was probably the former dressing area. No balcony but behind the stage was a skinny stairway down to the basement that led to a walkway that brought you back to the front of the building where a small wine making facility was. Still had vintage goodies intact.
The building was sold in the 1980’s to a church group who let it die a slow death. Torn down in the 1990’s.
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