Lehigh Theater

18 E. 4th Street,
Bethlehem, PA 18015

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2013 at 5:50 am

An early photo of the Lehigh Orpheum Theatre can be seen on this web page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2013 at 5:36 am

The aka should definitely be Lehigh Orpheum and not Lehigh Emporium. I found a 1915 ad for the Lehigh Orpheum and the wording, aside from the wrong name, was identical to an ad quoted in Raniere and Samuels. I’ve found a reference to a Lehigh Orpheum Company that in operation as late as 1933.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 25, 2013 at 5:24 am

South Bethlehem, by Kenneth F. Raniere, Karen M. Samuels, and the South Bethlehem Historical Society (Google Books preview), has a photo of the Lehigh Theatre. The caption says that the house opened as the Lehigh Emporium [sic] Theatre in the early 20th century, was renamed the State Theatre in the 1930s and the Lehigh Theatre in the 1960s. The building was demolished in 1976.

I found a reference in the December 20, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World to a Bethlehem house called the Lehigh Orpheum Theatre, and it has made me wonder if Lehigh “Emporium” Theatre was not an error, perhaps from a transcribed oral history. Emporium was not typically a theater name, but Orpheum certainly was. Raniere and Samuels' book is the only place I’ve found any reference to a Lehigh Emporium Theatre, while I’ve found multiple period references to a Lehigh Orpheum Theatre.