Oriental Theater

121 Hinds Street,
Rochester, PA 15074

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Oriental Theater

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The Oriental Theater sat on a hilltop overlooking the Ohio River in Rochester. It opened on Labor Day weekend, 1931, but don’t have a closing date, however in the late-1970’s, it was turned into a disco ala Studio 54, this one named Infinity.

It was demolished in around 2001, after sitting empty, except for vandals. The site remains an empty plot.

Contributed by Stephanie

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

Patsy on March 6, 2012 at 9:47 pm

clarkw: This is a remarkable post and one that truly got my attention! To think Mr. DeAngelis had all of his theatre blueprints at his home! It saddens me to think that local theatre folks didn’t look him up at the time! I truly hope that his irreplaceable archive is somewhere safe and sound. If over time you have any other follow-up to this story, please post! Thanks!

Patsy on March 6, 2012 at 9:54 pm

I have just reviewed the link posted on October 24, 2010 and can’t believe my eyes! This theatre was beautiful! The folks of Rochester PA have truly lost a DeAngelis masterpiece!

NathanDePaolis on May 2, 2013 at 7:41 am

clarkw: your previous comments have really peaked my interest!!!! i have been slowly doing research on the “oriental”, and have kinda hit a dead end so to speak, i have been trying, without much success, for the past couple years to be able to search through the old photos at graule’s, just hoping to maybe find some lost pic of the theater. and i was thinking how cool it would be to have a set of blueprints!!!!! i would really like to get in contact with you, if you could shot me and email, my address is , i would be eternally grateful!!

atmos on May 4, 2013 at 4:58 am

Opened in 1930 and closed about 1973.

atmos on May 4, 2013 at 6:31 am

Just found a local newspaper which states the theatre opened on 4 September 1931.

DeAngelisApprentice on July 19, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I grew up in Rochester, PA and had the pleasure of seeing “The Sound Of Music” in the Oriental a few years before it closed. I became an architect and in the late 1980’s moved back to Rochester. In doing research on the Oriental (which helped inspire my choice of career), I tracked down Michael DeAngelis Architect firm in Rochester NY. I took a shot in the dark and called the office, hoping to talk to someone who once knew him and hopefully his early work. HE answered the phone. He was so sharp, and entertaining – clearly remembered every detail about the Oriental, the family that built it – plus he had some great stories. The phone call was not enough. I asked if I could visit and a few weeks later we spent the day together in his office in Rochester NY talking about the Oriental, his other theatres, his career, and the time he punched David L. Lawrence (later mayor of Pittsburgh and governor of PA) in the nose on the steps of the state capital! He told me he was a direct descendent of Michelangelo (he said he had proof from the Vatican!). He was a great story teller and self-promoter, but I believe him. He still worked, loved architecture, loved people, and loved cigars. He died at age 94 in 1999, about a year after our last correspondence. I had the honor of putting him in touch with Leonard and Ken Winograd of the family that built the Oriental in 1931 and the three reconnected and reminisced. By the way, he was 25 years old when he designed the Oriental.

Patsy on July 19, 2013 at 6:34 pm

DeAngelis Apprentice: So exciting to read your comment relating to Michael DeAngelis…..thank you for sharing your memories with us. An earlier post from another CT member talked about the many blueprints…hope to learn more about all of the man’s blueprints. His grandson, Mark has posted on CT in the past. Please email me at

GrandkidNo5 on August 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm

My grandfather, Harry Headland, was chief projectionist when the Oriental opened on Labor Day weekend, 1931. First feature-film to be shown was a romantic comedy: Merely Mary Ann, starring Janet Gaynor & Charles Farrell.
Owners ran a contest for naming the theater, and the winning entry was submitted by a girl from Bridgewater.

GrandkidNo5 on August 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm

@Mike Rogers Nov. 10, 2010 comment: “The Flying Fontaines” starred Michael Callan & Rian Garrick. Garrick is a native of nearby Beaver Falls (birthname William Kaye).

mamanature66 on August 27, 2013 at 5:37 pm

I am very glad to have found this website. I gathered some information and I am hoping to connect with my cousin that posted here . My great grand uncle was Michael. My mother was very close to him until he died. He always wore a big cowboy hat. I remember visiting his apartment and he had basically recreated his office there. I am hoping that I will connect with my cousin to see what happen to much of the stuff because I believe it should be preserved. Thanks again

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