Irving Theatre

23 South Main Street,
Carbondale, PA 18407

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Irving Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A massive structure, it dominated Main Street for 80 years until it was demolished in the spring of 2003. Built in 1922-23 by the Comerford Theatres chain, it was a lavish movie palace. Rich in theatrical lore, Lionel Barrymore performed as did Milton Berle-although Mr. Berle’s humor was considered a little too risque and was asked to leave by the managment.

The interior was rich and lush, it walls were a relaxing salmon color and a mural of Main Street-circa 1923- above the stage. The golden years of Hollywood in the 1930’s and 1940’s, were also the golden years for the Irving Theatre. The theatre, reduced to showing porn, closed in 1973. Local residents had abondoned the downtown in favor of the new malls and shopping centers of the region. Most of the balcony and private loge boxes had long since been abondoned. Years of neglect by its subsequent owners left a gaping hole in the roof where the air-conditioner was ripped out-effectivly sealing the buildings fate.

It sat vacated and rotting, like Carbondale itself, until work begin demolishing the building. The huge lot it left vacant on Main Street has created a scar that the downtown will struggle to overcome.

Contributed by David Dottle

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

bockharn
bockharn on July 26, 2004 at 8:14 am

The Irving Theater in Carbondale PA was named by Mrs. Maude Johnson after writer Washington Irving, who — it was claimed — renamed the former “Ragged Island,” Carbondale. It was built by Breig Brothers Construction Company of Scranton PA. I knew the theater in the fifties and sixties; I would go to “the show” as often as I was allowed. I have a distinct memory of seeing “Singin' in the Rain” there, and of twirling my umbrella all the way home. The Irving was the “A” movie theater in town. Further south on Main Street was the “B” theater, the Majestic.

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on September 17, 2005 at 4:21 am

The Irving’s architect was Leon H. Lempert of Rochester, NY. He also designed the American Theatre in Pittston, PA which was an almost carbon copy of the Irving. I was lucky enough to tour the building in the late 80’s and it was evident what a nice theatre it had once been.

bluecat158
bluecat158 on April 20, 2006 at 11:57 am

Anyone have any photos of the Irving? I’m a Forest City native and drove through C-dale at least twice a week… but I’ve since moved and can’t remember what she looked like before being torn down.

jeffreyt
jeffreyt on April 29, 2006 at 5:40 am

Hey Bluecat158- I have a negative of the outside of the Irving with the large marquee still there. Contact me at:

.com

I may be able to send you a copy of the picture

RJS
RJS on September 7, 2009 at 10:51 am

A few photos of this theater can be seen at this link.

http://www.cinematour.com/tour/us/26897.html

Valley_Advantage
Valley_Advantage on May 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

FYI, as of May 2013, a Best Western hotel occupies the site, with an exterior that echoes the appearance of the theater.

BillyOK
BillyOK on January 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm

We had an Aunt and Uncle who lived in Carbondale.
My brother and I went to see a Steve Reeves film one afternoon with my 3 cousins. It was about Persians in ancient times. I don’t remember the films name?
I do remember that it was really a huge movie theater.
The screen seemed much bigger than any I’d ever seen before. I was 9 or so.

Like so many big, older movie Palaces, the owners, the caretakers of such opulence, let down future generations of potential movie fans.

Lost forever, like so many other great Movie Houses

SHAME!

BillyOK
BillyOK on April 4, 2014 at 6:15 pm

When you look on a Google map, you’ll see a huge, vacant lot where the Theater and the Acme Market once stood. To the left of the lot is a advertisement showing a building that looks somewhat like the Movie Theater that once stood there? It appears to be an artists rendering.

acer42
acer42 on April 21, 2014 at 6:38 pm

I went to college with a family member who owned the Irving circa 1960. He spoked of operating the Irving and a drive-in theatre during the summer. LaSalle 1964

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