Latonia Theater

1 East First Street,
Oil City, PA 16301

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Showing 1 - 25 of 67 comments

AndrewBarrett on September 22, 2014 at 9:09 pm

I also hope this theatre/ballroom/venue is doing well, and if I’m ever visiting that part of Pennsylvania, I’ll be sure to come check it out!

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on June 29, 2011 at 7:40 am

Just saw the documentary Out in the Silence on PBS — a very good, enlightening show — and was pleased to see so much footage about the re-opening of this theater and the girls who bought it and worked hard to bring it back to life. So of course I came here straight-away to find out more.

What’s the present status? It seems the website is down but I hope the theater is still in some kind of performance use.

sportster49 on September 16, 2009 at 11:57 am

More recent views of The Latonia may be seen in the documentary film, “Out in the Silence”.

Patsy on April 19, 2008 at 10:06 am

thelatonia: Great to read your recent post! Hope to visit the theatre again this summer!

larue777 on April 3, 2008 at 4:34 pm

Many things happening at the Latonia. Much work to do!! May and June every Friday night is “Live” at the Latonia night. Some great entertainment, regional promotion, giveways in the historical Latonia tradition… Working hard to support the community and raise funds for this great project. Visit for more. Also, see our videos on Look forward to seeing all of you this summer for many events.

ERD on March 2, 2008 at 12:52 pm

I am glad to know that the Latonia has been restored. It is important to preserve the beauty of such theatres.

Patsy on March 2, 2008 at 12:43 pm

Great to read that “the chandelier lit up for the first time in decades.” Congratulations and I hope to make a trip to Oil City this summer to witness your continued progress!

larue777 on March 2, 2008 at 12:35 pm

The Grand Opening was fabulous! The evening kicked off with a Venango Area Chamber of Commerce Mixer – the biggest mixer in the Chamber’s history. It was a “celebrate great things in the region” night with 16 organizations around the room with displays highlighting their projects. As we cut the ribbon, the house lights went off and the chandelier lit up for the first time in decades! We had our first concert the next weekend and are working a schedule of events. Meanwhile, private bookings are underway.

Patsy on February 24, 2008 at 2:45 pm

thelatonia: Great to read your “The Latonia is REBORN”!“ post…let us know how the grand opening went on February 1.

sportster49 on February 24, 2008 at 2:18 pm

For anyone that’s interested, the architectual firm that designed the Latonia was Marks & Karr from Pittsburgh. They are no longer in business.

larue777 on December 2, 2007 at 10:59 am

It’s been a while since I posted news. SO MUCH has happened and continues… The film festival was reported as a great success! And next year it will be held Saturday September 15th at the Latonia. It is a Venango County event and the festival will open in Emlenton at the Crawford Center on Friday, then the Latonia on Saturday and end at the Barrow Civic Theatre in Franklin on Sunday.
Last night our local Glenda group held a World Aides Day event in the ballroom with skits, readings and music. It was great to have them here!
Work continues on the ballroom. Plaster repair and painting – preparing the floors and the stairs for carpet – new doors and windows are scheduled for installation within the next two weeks – the carpet arrives early January…. The biggest news is that theatre seats are now in place in the balcony. Youth from Oil City’s South Side Association helped bring them from Warren Ohio to the Latonia. We so appreciate their support along with many others in the community who have offered so much.
THE GRAND OPENING of the Ballroom is set for February 1. The Latonia is REBORN!

Patsy on December 1, 2007 at 7:59 am

Yes, you are saving a piece of Oil City history…..congratulations and happy holidays!

wimfest2008 on December 1, 2007 at 7:37 am

Linda…what a wonder undertaking!!! You and Rox have jumped in to a great project and should be proud of your accomplishments to date! You are saving a piece of history! Kudos to you both…Donna

larue777 on October 23, 2007 at 4:25 pm

I made a typo it’s Thanks Patsy.
The film festival committee has reviewed most of the films and there’s a great selection! Some funny, some enlightening, some uplifting. There will be video workshops all day Nov 3, followed by showing of the short films from 7 to 9pm. It seems most appropriate that the first big event here is a film festival. The room is still a diamond in the rough but work continues and we’re opening the doors.

Patsy on September 30, 2007 at 4:36 pm

For some reason the joyannwheelerfineart site doesn’t come up when I click on it so perhaps you could look into this matter. Thanks.

Patsy on September 30, 2007 at 4:34 pm

Linda and Rox: Thanks so much for this great theatrical update. All of us at CT wish you the best of luck and continued Latonia success! If I can make any of the dates you have mentioned, I will let you know.

larue777 on September 30, 2007 at 2:36 pm

Our schedule is growing even as work continues on the building! November 3rd the Latonia will be hosting day 2 of the first Venango County Film Festival. See festival details at
We continue to give tours of the building sharing its history along with our vision. A few have been combined with a catered luncheon.
What’s surprising everyone most of all is the accoutic engineering of that great room! If you have never experienced singing under a “whisper dome” ceiling, it’s a real treat. The reverb is astounding. As an accoustical expert explained, the dome acts like a huge parabolic microphone – focusing the sound. The curved walls with the bumps. diffuse the sound throughout the room and carry it easily into the entire balcony area with NO amplification. When this theatre was built – 50 watts was state of the art amplification for “talkies”. And it was built to support live performances – thus, the three floors of stage rooms. We’ve had several musicians from outside the area in the room and they have been awed as have we in hearing them.
A paint party is scheduled – October 20 9am to ? which will be locally promoted. Latonia Tours are planned for October 27 followed by a wine & cheeze social.
So, within a month the doors are wide open. It’s great fun to share this treasure!
– Linda and Rox

Patsy on July 21, 2007 at 5:54 pm

Great post and even greater news about the Latonia interest you have stirred among so many and the best news is that original Latonia items are COMING HOME THANKS TO THE KIND SOULS WHO ENSURED THEIR RETURN. Keep up the wonderful work that you are doing. My hat is off to you!

larue777 on July 21, 2007 at 5:29 pm

What a wonderful turnout for the Latonia Tours July 19, during the Oil Heritage Festival!!! Hundreds of people came during the short two hours, sharing memories, offering suggestions and support for the Latonia’s rebirth. Visitors reading this – THANK YOU! Hats off to our Venango Chamber of Commerce for all their efforts in organizing the festival. Our tour began with a slide show containing vintage photos of the building of the theatre, the new close up photos linked above by my brother Mike, and sharing our vision for the Latonia’s future. The we visited the stage rooms, up to the mezzanine and the “ballroom”. We heard so many great stories. And a super bonus – we were asked that night to do a special tour for the Studebaker driving club on Saturday. Today they came and hope they enjoyed their visit as much as we enjoyed having them here! Mike should be posting a pic soon with vintage Studebaker’s parked out front. And yes, Patsy we do plan to restore and replace the vintage wall fixtures. We believe we’ve found an intact example of each. Another note – Roxy was at auctions the last few days which included original Latonia items that are coming home. Many thanks to kind souls at the auction who ensured they return.

Patsy on July 8, 2007 at 7:16 pm

thelatonia: I tend to agree with you and my hat is off to you for your theatre efforts and resourcing the Latonia’s greatest treasure despite the alterations to the building over the years. After seeing the marquee photo I truly wish it were still there. One thing that truly amazed me was the all of the beautiful exit signs still being intact. Do you plan to restore and replace many of the vintage wall light fixtures as they are so very special in art deco design from that era?

larue777 on July 8, 2007 at 5:23 pm

Patsy, it would be great to see you again. The other day a friend brought in a different picture of the marquee. We’ll have it on display on tour day. Hope to have a few friends playing in the room that night as well so everyone can experience the sound. I’m in awe of it. Can’t wait to get the carpeting in and have a full performance there. They just don’t make halls like this anymore and I truely believe now that this is the greatest treasure of the building – even with the alterations of the building.

Patsy on July 7, 2007 at 11:07 am

Lost Memory: Thanks again for your theatre help! Much appreciated, as always.

Patsy on July 7, 2007 at 10:54 am

ken mc: I tried angelfire website, but it seems that one needs a password to enter.

Patsy on July 7, 2007 at 10:52 am

Michael J: Thanks for the many good photos posted on June 1.

kencmcintyre on July 7, 2007 at 10:33 am

I think that’s the angelfire website. Try googling that.