Shea's Theatre

18 W. 10th Street,
Erie, PA 16501

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: RKO, Rowland and Clark Theaters, Shea Theatres, Shubert Brothers Theater Company, Stanley-Warner Theatres

Architects: John Bailey McElfatrick

Firms: J. B. McElfatrick and Sons

Styles: Neo-Classical

Previous Names: Majestic Theatre, Perry Theatre, Holiday Theatre

Nearby Theaters

1936 photo courtesy of Christine Lorraine.

Originally opened in 1904 as the Majestic Theatre. It was renamed Perry Theatre on October 11, 1921 when it was taken over by the Rowland and Clark Theaters chain. By 1941, it had been renamed Shea’s Theatre. On October 11, 1967 it was renamed Holiday Theatre but this was short lived as it was closed in 1968.

This theatre was a casualty of 1960’s “urban renewal”. Those who have lived in Erie since at least the 1950’s or 1960’s will recall that this theatre was disgracefully torn down with the Lawrence Hotel and a popular candy company at 926 State Street.

Contributed by David Stear

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

MDaurora on March 8, 2011 at 7:54 am

Google “Erie County Historical Society” and click on “Photo Archives”. Pictures #2 and #16 on page 2 are of Shea’s. Picture #7 is of 10th St and on the far left is Shea’s which was then known as the Perry.

Charlie_Brown1 on August 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

This was a beautiful theater it should have never been torn down. I remember when John F Kennedy came to Erie in 1960. He stayed at the Lawrence Hotel next to the Shea’s. I can still see him in front of Lawrence Hotel and The Shea’s Theater all gone for ever.

DesR on September 25, 2014 at 10:30 am

The Shea’s was torn down before I was born, but it does live on! I have the interior marque that my father pulled out before it was demolished. I can add a picture, if someone can tell me how to get it on here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2014 at 11:52 am

DesR: to add a photo to Cinema Treasures click on the “Photos” button (between “Overview” and “Comments”) above; on the photo page, scroll down and click the “Add New Photo” button; on the next page, click the “choose” button and select from the menu that appears the file of your photo wherever you have it stored on your computer. The file’s name should automatically appear in the adjacent box when you click on it. Adding a title and description are optional. Then click the “Upload Photo” button. License will default to “Creative Commons (Attribution)” but if you want a different one select it from the drop-down menu.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2014 at 12:00 pm

A twentieth century history of Erie County, Pennsylvania, by J. Miller, says that the Majestic Theatre was dedicated on January 28, 1904. It was designed by architect J. B. McElfatrick.

In 1907 the house was sold to Moses Reis, who continued the original policy of legitimate stage productions. By 1912, the theater had been transferred to the Shuberts.

The earliest mention of movies at the Majestic I’ve found is from the September 16, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World, which said the house had been reopened by O. A. Potter with a policy of vaudeville and moving pictures.

DesR on September 25, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Thanks Joe. Photo uploaded!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

This post at Old Time Erie says that Shea’s was also known as the Perry Theatre. The December 3, 1921, issue of Exhibitors Trade Review had an announcement that Rowland & Clark had recently opened their Perry Theatre in Erie. I haven’t yet discovered when it became Shea’s.

I’ve been doing a Google image search for theaters designed by J. B. McElfatrick to see if there are others resembling the Majestic, but I’ve found none that are very close. It’s remarkable how varied his designs were.

matthewthecinemaguy on April 19, 2022 at 5:47 am

List of Owners:
1935-1940 Shea Theatres
1940-1950 Jamestown Amusement Co.
1950-1961 Shea Theatres
1961-1964 RKO Stanley Warner

rivest266 on June 10, 2023 at 11:50 pm

The Majestic theatre opened on January 28th, 1904. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on June 12, 2023 at 8:45 am

Reopened as Perry on October 11th, 1921 and Holiday on October 11th, 1967 and closed in 1968. Grand opening ads posted.

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