Kent Theatre

2459 Kensington Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19125

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Kent

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The People’s Theatre originally opened in 1890, seating over 2,200, and was located on Kensington Avenue. In 1914, Thomas Lamb was hired to remodel the theater, and its seating was reduced to about 1,930 at this time. From 1924-26, the People’s Theatre was renamed the Desmond Theatre. In 1927 it was remodeled to the plans of Hoffman & Henon and was renamed Kent Theatre after having been taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

The Kent Theatre closed during the 1960’s and was demolished sometime in 1989. Today the site is in use as a basketball court.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

slotr1
slotr1 on April 18, 2008 at 4:47 pm

Great photos,bring back a lot of memories in that building.So does the name george mariner,I remember you from Visitation.Oh man what a long time ago..

wildside
wildside on December 29, 2008 at 8:51 pm

The Kent Theatre was demolished in 1989, not 1990. I watched the theatre be demolished.

Telstar
Telstar on January 13, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Wow! So, something reminded me of the Kent Theater in Philly where I grew up so I Googled it and happened across this terrific site.
I loved reading all the prior posts and especially the photos.
Yes, most Saturday afternoons included the Matinée at the beautiful Kent where, at least when I went, one would enjoy the Coming Attractions, Three Stooges, 20 Cartoons and a movie such as King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein, The King and I, “etcetera, etcetera, etcetera”. I remember “Mr. Levy” was in charge. I attended the Visitation B.V.M as well and did get up on stage after winning one of those “Lucky Bucks” one Saturday. Great memories, great Theater!

Moviegoer1
Moviegoer1 on October 5, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Hi i was wondering if someone could help me. My mom has a full 92 piece set of dishes that are from when the kent theater did a giveaway dish night as im seeing it was called. The only thing is we cant find nothing on these dishes. Her grandmother gave them to my grandmother who passed them down to her and she wanted to know if anyone had any info or where i could maybe find something on them ive been searching all over and cant find anything. The like a cream color wit 18k gold trim around them and stamped onto the bottom of each piece says Georgelyn Sunset Canonsburg Pottery Co. Ive searched all over with this info i have and cant seem to find anything someone help me please thank you

PhillyBob
PhillyBob on March 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Moviegoer1 – I have the EXACT same set. It was my grandmothers who lived on Somerset St years ago. I was a movie projectionist and in 1985 a friend of mine and I were actually looking to buy the building from a doctor who owned it down in South Philly. It just needed too much work. I worked at the TLA and 22 other theatres in Philly from 1978 to 2003. I used to go to the kent when I was very young… I think “Batman” was one of the last films there!

Pham
Pham on May 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm

The Kent Theatre is a big part of my childhood. I worked there as an usher in 1959 to 1961. Jack Levy, (Uncle Jack), was the manager at that time. He died shortly after I left to join the Air Force in 1961. I use to enjoy watching him give out the lucky bucks on Saturday. The Kent had to be one of the most beautiful buildings. The design was just great. I often wondered what it was like when it was an Opera House. We had a great crew that worked there when I was there. There was Ronnie K, Ronnie J, Jimmy, and me, Richard F.. It is such a shame that a wonderful land mark such as the Kent Theatre had to be torn down.

TheALAN
TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 10:55 am

TheaterBluff, this is not the forum for your political nonsense. Give it a rest and stay on-topic! … and no one cares what you meant to say!

TheALAN
TheALAN on January 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

The theater opened in 1890 at Kensington Avenue and E. Cumberland Street and was originally called the People’s Theatre. The architect was George Plowman & Co. of Philadelphia (1406 Chestnut St.) and the client was Mercantile & Store Company. —Source: PAB

Note: The accompanying map shows the theater on Kensington Avenue between E. Letterly Street and E. Hagert Street. THIS IS INCORRECT! The theater was on Kensington Avenue between E. Cumberland Street and E. Letterly Street.

Pham
Pham on January 18, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Hi “TheALAN” You are right in what you said about where the Kent Theatre was located. That map is incorrect.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on January 19, 2014 at 3:34 am

TheALAN & pham: Google Maps are not always accurate, especially when the street address and Zip Code are incorrectly given when the theatre page is first submitted. In this case, the address & Zip Code are correct, but it is a block off. The Google Street View has been set to the correct location.

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