Poplar Theatre Renovated For Performing Arts

 

Photo: Hidden City Daily

Now ninety-nine years old, the former Poplar Cinema Art Theatre at Sixth and Poplar in the Northern Liberties, where Louis Kahn played piano in the 1910s and 20s, still stands, with its doors and windows bricked up, and little to suggest its past life.

Recently, Seymore Rubin & Associates purchased the building from Pearl Pressman Liberty Communications, and in hoping to ready the space for lease, renovated the building, removing a great deal of the theater’s surviving interior detail.

Photo: Hidden City Daily

Here is some of that detail, of the proscenium, in this still taken from this video.

Inside the Poplar Theater before renovation

Rubin’s hope is to rent the theater to an arts group that could use it as a performance or exhibition space.

Since the late 1700s, dozens of theaters have come and gone in the Northern Liberties—perhaps more than in any place in Philadelphia. Among the earliest was the Northern Liberties Theater on the wharf extending into the Delaware River from Noble Street (by Front Street). Most acts were evidently disreputable and the venue was gloomy. The theater closed and was turned into a shipwright’s shop.

Later on, folks frequented the Washington Circus, a frame structure put up in 1828 on Old York Road between Buttonwood and Green (around Fifth and Spring Garden Streets). Clown and strong-man performances were held there, as were horse-riding exhibitions. The building was reconstructed into a dramatic theater in 1829 with seating arranged for audiences up to 1,200 people. Known also as the Washington Amphitheater, it was gone by the 1850s.

.

About the author

Harry Kyriakodis, author of Philadelphia's Lost Waterfront (2011), Northern Liberties: The Story of a Philadelphia River Ward (2012), and The Benjamin Franklin Parkway (2014), regularly gives walking tours and presentations on unique yet unappreciated parts of the city. A founding/certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, he is a graduate of La Salle University and Temple University School of Law, and was once an officer in the U.S. Army Field Artillery. He has collected what is likely the largest private collection of books about the City of Brotherly Love: over 2700 titles new and old.



No Comments


Trackbacks

  1. More from Philadelphia — Poplar Theatre | Theatre Historical Society Readerboard
Recent Posts
Of Birds And Drinking Water

Of Birds And Drinking Water

October 21, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Inside the East Park Reservoir, Temple students adopting blocks, UCD to start early on 40th Street plaza, and Jewish life gets a boost at Penn > more

Preservation Alliance Launches

Preservation Alliance Launches “Places To Save” List

October 20, 2014  |  Buzz

The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia reboots their annual "Endangered Properties" list with new "Places to Save" announcements > more

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

Bless Our Beer Gardens, Past and Present

October 20, 2014  |  Behind the Facade

Drinking al fresco reached new heights this summer as brilliantly designed beer gardens popped up all over the city. This isn't anything new though, says Nic Esposito. Philadelphia has been publicly drunk since 1671 > more

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

Old City Orange Façade To Be Preserved

October 20, 2014  |  Morning Blend

Historical Commission okays Old City development, the emblematic stairway at the Barnes, Blatstein serious yet anxious about The Provence, 10 homes for NoLibs, and a salvaged cornice delights in Fishtown > more

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

The Tombstone Wall Of Society Hill

October 17, 2014  |  Vantage

With October at hand and Halloween on the way, we thought a series on historic cemeteries was most appropriate. Our first story presents the strange tale of thirty tombstones that sit embedded in the back wall of the Presbyterian Historical Society > more

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

Existential Tug-Of-War Along West Cecil B. Moore Avenue

October 17, 2014  |  Morning Blend

The identity crisis of TempleTown, Family Court opens, artist space coming to Grays Ferry, mixed-use for Ridge, inside the Bok storage facility, and PhillyU collects $60M > more