Gateway Theatre

119 Sixth Street,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

former Gateway Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Gateway Theatre was located in downtown Pittsburgh in what is now the city’s Cultural District. It was built on the site of the Alvin Theatre of 1891, which had a roof collapse in 1938. It was rebuilt to the plans of architect John Eberson and reopened in 1941 as the J. P. Harris Theatre, named after John P. Harris, who started the world’s first nickelodeon in Pittsburgh.

In 1961 the theatre was bought by George and Ernest Stern, whose Associated Theaters chain also included the Fulton Theatre, which was several doors away at 101 Sixth Street. They renamed the theatre the Gateway Theatre. It underwent a remodeling in the Autumn of 1967 and was dark for several weeks.

In 1982 the theatre closed and was remodeled into a health club called the City Club. The club was bought in 1999-2000 by the health club chain Bally’s, and it still operates as that today. But the front of the club is easily identifiable as a former movie theatre.

Contributed by Ron Miller

Recent comments (view all 36 comments)

tharley
tharley on October 28, 2011 at 1:11 am

Tim Harley is the director of the Jimmy Stewart Museum. He does have a 200 seat theater that was donated by Universal that frequently shows Jimmy Stewart Movies the way they were meant to be seen.. Tom Harley is also from Indiana but apparently is no relation.

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 13, 2011 at 5:45 pm

of course JAWS. We used to stand in the upstairs rehearsal hall of Heinz Hall and see the long, long lines that had snaked around the block onto Penn

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

A movie and then Zotis, the restaurant with the great Rueben sandwiches next door!

WarnerChatham
WarnerChatham on April 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm

For years, The Gateway was always the theatre in Pittsburgh where the James Bond movies would premiere. I can remember sitting in the balcony the weekend “The Spy who Loved Me” opened in 1977. I remember hearing a story about how Cinemette anticipated huge business for the first Roger Moore 007 movie “Live and Let Die” in 1973. They booked the movie at both the Gateway AND the Fulton. However, they only had one print of the movie. The spaced the start times about a half hour apart. This was long enough so that the ushers could run reels between the two theatres. Keep in mind the projection booths were at the top of each balcony, and the trip was a long one from booth to booth. The ushers had to be relieved when the business died down after the first couple of weeks, and the feature was just shown at the Gateway.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 22, 2013 at 3:50 am

The August 30, 1934, issue of The Pittsburgh Press printed a special five-page section devoted to the newly remodeled Harris Alvin Theatre. A scan at Google News begins at this link.

johnbarchibald1
johnbarchibald1 on November 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I can remember seeing a “sneak preview” of “The Time Machine,” in 1960, at what was then called the J.P.Harris Theatre, along with the main scheduled feature, “Let’s Make Love,” which starred Marilyn Monroe, and which I thought was too dull for words. I was 11. But I loved “Time Machine” and still do! I seem to remember other films there, too, like “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and “The Mysterious Island,” which usually appeared around the holidays.

johnbarchibald1
johnbarchibald1 on November 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I can remember seeing a “sneak preview” of “The Time Machine,” in 1960, at what was then called the J.P.Harris Theatre, along with the main scheduled feature, “Let’s Make Love,” which starred Marilyn Monroe, and which I thought was too dull for words. I was 11. But I loved “Time Machine” and still do! I seem to remember other films there, too, like “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” and “The Mysterious Island,” which usually appeared around the holidays.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 21, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Regarding this paragraph in my comment of December 5, 2010:

“An advertisement for Philadelphia building contractors R.C. Ballinger & Co. in a 1907 edition of Sweet’s Catalog of Building Construction listed the Alvin Theatre among the projects the company had built, and said that the house was designed by an Indianapolis architectural firm called Reed Brothers. I’ve been unable to find any other references to that firm on the Internet.”
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but “Reed Brothers” might have been an error by whoever put together the ad in Sweet’s Catalog. Before establishing their practice in San Francisco, that city’s noted theater architects James and Merritt Reid had operated an office in Evansville, Indiana, along with their younger brother Watson Reid. The Evansville office was sold in 1891, the same year the Alvin Theatre was built. The Reids then moved to California, though Watson eventually returned to their native Canada to practice architecture there.

This is probably not enough information to establish that San Francisco’s Reid Brothers designed the Alvin Theatre, but, if the Sweet’s ad got both the name and the city wrong, it opens the tantalizing possibility that they did. It would be interesting if their first theater design turned out to have been in Pittsburgh, and not in that other hill town where they became famous.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 6, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Grand opening ad as Gateway December 30th, 1960 in photo section.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 6, 2014 at 5:10 pm

April 4th, 1942 grand opening ad as J. P. Harris also in the photo section.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater