Girard Theatre

625 W. Girard Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19122

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Architects: John Bailey McElfatrick

Firms: Ballinger Company

Previous Names: Girard Avenue Theatre

Nearby Theaters

GIRARD Theatre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after closure

The Girard Avenue Theatre was opened on March 30, 1891 as a live playhouse. It was badly damaged by fire in 1903, caused by an electrical wiring fault. It was rebuilt and reopened but the operating company went bankrupt around 1913. By 1914 it was operating as a movie theatre. In May 1915 it was equipped with a large Wurlitzer organ. In 1919 it was presenting Keith Vaudeville on stage and movies on the screen. Seating was provided in orchestra, and two balcony levels. There were two boxes at orchestra level each side of the proscenium and two boxes at first balcony level on each side of the proscenium. In 1927 alterations were made to the plans of architectural firm Ballinger Company. By 1941, it was known as the Girard Theatre, and was closed in 1964.

Although the façade of the building was ‘modernised’, the original brickwork of the auditorium block and stage house could still be seen around the corner on N. Marshall Street. It became a Klein’s Spanish-American Food Market, and later a housed a Fine Fare supermarket using the former orchestra level. There was a false ceiling hiding the upper parts of the deteriorating theatre from view. It was demolished in November 2019.

Contributed by Lou Rugani

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

LouRugani on October 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 28. (1903) — The Girard Avenue Theater was gutted by fire early today, entailing a loss of $50,000, of which $25,000 was on the building and the remainder on the contents. The fire started at about 3:30 a. m. on the stage, and is supposed to have been caused by an electric light wire. A traveling company was producing the “Minister’s Daughter.” All of the company’s scenery and costumes were destroyed. Miller and Kauffman were the lessees.

JeffBradway on August 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Lou, Can you tell me the source of the photo of the façade of the Girard? I am researching, J. B. McElfatrick & Son, the firm that designed the Girard, and would like to obtain a copy of the photo. Thanks!

Joey_Martini on February 1, 2014 at 5:18 am

Great article here about the history:

TheALAN on August 22, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Sorry Jeff, but I guess Lou’s not going to answer your question. I wish I could!

Does anyone know what make and model theater organ was in the Girard Theatre and when it was removed? Also, what happened to it.


HowardBHaas on July 21, 2016 at 6:21 am

For sale by grocery store owner, article has interior photos-

HowardBHaas on September 10, 2018 at 1:07 pm

Sold & demolition expected

EsseXploreR on November 5, 2019 at 4:46 am

Demolition is well underway.

amby_moho on May 29, 2021 at 2:10 pm

I am furious that this was demolished. What a gloriously beautiful theater that could’ve been saved

rsalters (Ron Salters)
rsalters (Ron Salters) on May 30, 2021 at 10:50 am

The Girard Avenue Theatre is listed in the 1897-98 edition of the Julius Cahn Official Theatrical Guide as housing a stock company. Charles Durban was Mgr. 1,315 seats. The proscenium opening was 32' wide X 30 ‘ high, and the stage was 34’ deep. There was both gas and electric illumination, and the auditorium was on the ground floor.

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.