Bentley Theatre

122 West Main Street,
Monongahela, PA 15063

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The Bentley Theatre was built in 1914. The owners at that time were Charles and Harry Bentley. The Bentley Theatre is listed in the 1957 Film Daily Yearbook with 450 seats.

Contributed by Ridgewood Ken

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2013 at 6:18 pm

This article from the February 17, 1985, issue of The Pittsburgh Press says that the Bentley Theatre, which had been closed since the early 1950s, was to be demolished to make way for a new apartment house. However, a later paragraph mentions a “renovated building” with twelve apartments. Perhaps part of the structure was preserved. The article also says that the Bentley Theatre was on East Main Street, so we might have the wrong address for it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 9, 2013 at 4:20 am

I’ve only found a couple of oblique references to the Bentley’s location. A message board comment said that there was a high bluff behind it, and there are no bluffs in the 100 block of East Main, but there is a bluff just behind the buildings on the south side of the 100 West block.

There is also a reference in Walls of Illusion, a reminiscence by Joseph A. Bulko (Google Books preview), that describes an unnamed theater being “…at the end of main street [sic] across from the bridge over the Monongahela River.” Bulko lived in a room in the building while working at Johnny Matthews' appliance store, which was located in a storefront in the theater building. The newspaper article I linked to in my previous comment also mentions Matthews, and says that his appliance store was one of three shops in the Bentley Theatre building.

The current bridge crosses the 300 block of East Main, so I’m thinking there must have been an old bridge that has been demolished since the 1950s. I now believe that the newspaper got the address wrong, and the theater was on the south side of West Main Street. The newspaper article described the theater building as having three storefronts, and said that it would be converted into 12 apartments. Only one standing building fits that description, so I’ve set Street View to it. I can’t tell from the side walls how old they are, but it’s possible that the auditorium was not completely demolished but merely gutted, and the apartments built into the shell. It could probably never be used as a theater again, though.

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