127 North Front Street,
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The Rowland Theatre in on the National Register of Historic Places. It was was built in 1917 by local soft coal magnate and U.S. Congressman Charles Hedding Rowland, who also refurbished the Rowland House on South Centre Street. The theatre occupies the space of the Pearce Opera Hose that burned on December 31, 1910. Perhaps because of the history of the site, Charles Rowland liked to explain that his theatre was completely fireproof. Many building of this ere were fireproof, meaning they had concrete walls, floors and roofs. The original theatre marquee was made of opaque white and green glass. The original marquee is partially intact and was recently uncovered. The Rowland Board is seeking funds to restore it. The theatre has a lovely lobby with a stained glass skylight and painted murals. Below the stage are dressing rooms and a ‘green room’. At the back of the building there were large doors that backed onto the railroad siding. When the circus came to town, the animals and big equipment moved directly from the rail cars to the back of the stage.
Its large size, sound construction, and lavish decor bear witness to Mr. Rowland’s conception of the theater as a public necessity. In its early days the theater housed a diversified program of movies and live theatrical attractions, but more recently it has served predominately as a movie house.
The Rowland Theatre today is owned by the Philipsburg Borough and is under the management of a non-profit organization, Rowland Theatre Incorporated. Recent renovations have vastly improved the appearance of the interior. With its big screen and Dolby sound, the theatre attracts movie fans from all over central Pennsylvania. Many celebrities have performed in or visited the theatre over the years, including President Carter, Eric Estrada, Cahal Dunn and others.
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