Wynne Theatre

2001 N. 54th Street,
Philadelphia, PA 19131

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The November 15, 1927 “The Exhibitor” trade publication mentioned that the Stanley Company of America would open a theatre in the Wynnefield neighborhood, with 2,000 seats, all on one floor of the auditorium. Philadelphia architects Hoffman-Henon would design it.

The Wynne Theatre opened 1928. The auditorium had a Kimball organ, large crystal chandeliers, and 1,763 seats, all on one floor. Second run movies were shown until the 1950’s, when double features were shown. The theatre was operated by Stanley Warner. The Wynne Theatre closed in 1955.

The theatre was then converted into a catering facility with several ballrooms fit into the various heights of the auditorium. By the 1970’s the theatre featured bingo. In 1981, the Wynne Theatre was sold to Wynnefield civic leader Katie B. Jackson. She reopened it as a banquet and catering facility. It continued as a successful enterprise until after Mrs. Jackson’s death in 1993.

The Wynne Theatre is a two-story high brick building, the color of sand. Large Wynne letters are still on its marquee in 2007, and the usual Stanley-Warner 20 feet high “V” shaped roof sign still says “Wynne”. In March 2016 work began converting the building into senior housing.

Contributed by HowardBHaas, Dave Liitterer

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

HowardBHaas on March 29, 2009 at 10:33 pm

This photo, too, from same time:
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HowardBHaas on September 2, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Photo & text in book, Jewish Community of West Philadelphia:
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HowardBHaas on September 2, 2009 at 10:48 pm

More recent photos at this website:
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HowardBHaas on September 2, 2009 at 11:18 pm

from April 2007 Wynnefield Residents Association newsletter

“Local Wynnefield Institutions”

The Wynne Plaza Ballroom: The Wynne or Wynne Plaza Ballroom at 54th and Arlington streets was an integral part of the 54th street business sector. It was a movie theater, then became an up-scale catering and banquet hall, and later a bingo parlor. In 1981 the Wynne was sold again to successful Wynnefield entrepreneur Mrs. Katie B. Jackson, who reopened it as a successful banquet and catering facility. It continued as a successful enterprise until after Mrs. Jackson’s death in 1993.

HowardBHaas on September 3, 2009 at 9:32 am

More on Katie Jackson, see above post-

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Much of the development of Wynnefield after the 1960s is due to the influence of the late Katie B. Jackson, born 1929. Known by the African-American community as “Queen of Wynnefield,” Jackson founded the Wynnefield Academy, a private, co-educational PK-4 elementary school in 1975. The Katie B. Jackson Development Corporation and Katie B. Jackson Senior Citizens Complex bear her name.

kencmcintyre on January 15, 2010 at 1:57 am

Here is a photo circa 1920s from the Irvin Glazer theater collection:

HowardBHaas on September 19, 2011 at 7:49 am

Here’s Friday’s Hidden City Philadelphia blog article about how current plans are on hold: http://hiddencityphila.org/2011/09/wynne-theater-plans-on-hold/

RickB on October 8, 2012 at 11:21 am

Demolition reported to be imminent as the building is said to be too far gone to save. Hidden City Philadelphia story here. The piece says that the city took over ownership of the property this summer after the previous owners ran up $500,000 in unpaid taxes.

robtadrian on March 1, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Currently being renovated to open as Wynne Senior Housing.

HowardBHaas on March 1, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Article here http://cdesignc.org/blog/2015/12/17/golden-sledgehammers-for-wynne-senior-residences

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