Temple Theatre

315 Brusselles Streeet,
St. Mary's, PA 15857

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The Temple Theatre was the first film house to be built in St. Marys, PA. Ground breaking was on May 1, 1902, and the cornerstone laid on July 24th. The building measured one-hundred thirty feet by eighty feet. It was two and a half stories high. The foundation was built of cut sandstone and the remainder was built of red brick. The palatial palace sat more than 1,000 people, making it the largest play house in the county. It opened on December 22, 1902, with "When Knighthood was in Flower," as the attraction.

Most of the shows played there were musicals and vaudeville shows and were performed before an audience seated in three tiers of people. There were also four privately rented boxes that seated around twenty-two people. The stage was standard for any of the large theatrical productions, large enough to play a full court game of basketball on. Photoplays were introduced in later years.

Many rumors of the theatre closing were spread throughout its living history, including it being converted into a compartment house. Articles protested, "Must have Opera House." The theatre was saved under new management for another decade until it was completely destroyed by a fire on December 27, 1922. The fire was discovered hours after closing, and evidently had been burning for some time as the flames had broken through the roof of the loft at the rear of the theatre. The flames spread with great rapidity and after a very short time the entire rear part of the building was a mass of flames. A few moments later and the whole building was a roaring furnace with the flames shooting scores of feet into the air. The solid brick construction and composition roof helped the firemen to confine the flames with the structure. The danger from the walls falling, however, was still apparent. When the fire had been extinguished, it was clear that the building could not be saved. A box was found placed in the cornerstone while removing debris from the sight. The tin box and its contents were practically intact.

Although the inner structure of the building had been destroyed, the foundations and outer walls continued to stand proud, and continue to today, after nearly a century of housing many other businesses, the current being Hunt Oil offices.

Contributed by Beansie
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