809 Liberty Avenue,
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Styles: Streamline Moderne
Previous Names: Avenue Cinema, Art Cinema
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 renamed Art Cinema on September 16, 1935, screening Brian Aherne in “The Constant Nymph”. 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 theatres 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 closed in December 2019.
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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