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.

Send a message!



No Comments


Trackbacks

  1. More from Philadelphia — Poplar Theatre | Theatre Historical Society Readerboard
Recent Posts
Temple To Get Its Boathouse Back By Next Summer

Temple To Get Its Boathouse Back By Next Summer

July 31, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Ground broken on Temple boathouse restoration, distillery to release Philadelphia-inspired gin, apartments beneath Manayunk’s elevated tracks, West Philly trolley tunnel closed for repairs, and the Independence Visitor Center reaches milestone > more

Initial Concepts For A Revamped Headhouse Square Revealed

Initial Concepts For A Revamped Headhouse Square Revealed

July 30, 2015  |  Morning Blend

A gateway planned for the Headhouse Shambles, Feibush still with more fight in him for 20th and Wharton proposal, fishing and the city, and crafting some of the world’s best guitars in Fishtown > more

A Spirited Quest: On The Trail Of Philadelphia's Distilleries

A Spirited Quest: On The Trail Of Philadelphia’s Distilleries

July 30, 2015  |  Behind the Facade

Craft beer may flow in Philadelphia's 21st century veins, but liquor manufacturing has a long, spirited history here. Nic Esposito gives a toast to the city's past, present, and future of distilling > more

Divine Lorraine Gets Go-Ahead From Architecture Committee

Divine Lorraine Gets Go-Ahead From Architecture Committee

July 29, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Blumenfeld gets design approval for Divine Lorraine reuse, reduced NIMBYism in Chestnut Hill, “toughest stretch” yet of Schuylkill River Trail opens, and ZBA stays true to height limits in Fishtown > more

The Devil Is The Detail

The Devil Is The Detail

July 29, 2015  |  Vantage

"Notorious" Devil's Pool? The most beloved place in the Wissahickon may suffer abuse and indignity every summer, but they are no match for its beauty and physiologic significance. Brad Maule defends the natural landmark > more

City’s Oldest Active Fire Hall Designated Historic

City’s Oldest Active Fire Hall Designated Historic

July 28, 2015  |  Morning Blend

Two of John T. Windrim’s buildings being preserved, an urban garden in Chinatown North, and learning another language through a mural > more