809 Liberty Avenue,
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The Avenue Cinema was opened September 14, 1931 showing on the screen “Der Foersterchrist” a German talking & singing operetta. It specialized in showing ‘unusual and artistic films from other lands’. It was later known as the Art Cinema and began screening adult movies. On November 9, 1995, the Harris Theatre was officially opened to the public. The Harris Theatre represented the cornerstone of the redevelopment of Liberty Avenue.
Located in the nationally known and locally registered Penn-Library Historic District, the Harris Theatre was the first moving picture house in Pittsburgh to commercially show “art movies” until competition from other city theaters led to its conversion to an adult, pornographic movie house in the 1960’s.
The theatre’s marquee was restored, and the theatre seats 194 for movies and 178 for live performances.
The Harris Theatre was named through a gift from the Buhl Foundation after John P. Harris, co-founder of Nickelodeon – the first theatre solely dedication to the showing of motion pictures- and a Pennsylvania State Senator.
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