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

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

 

Recent Posts
Museum of American Revolution To Unveil Public Plaza Next Month

Museum of American Revolution To Unveil Public Plaza Next Month

August 29, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Old City museum to debut outdoor plaza prior to spring opening, lighting the Divine Lorraine signs, the economics and politics of changing a neighborhood’s name, fire destroys church in West Philly, and bike racks for Tasker-Morris > more

Advocates Race Against The Clock To Save Terrace Hall

Advocates Race Against The Clock To Save Terrace Hall

August 26, 2016  |  News

In Wissahickon, an historic meeting hall on the eve of demolition gets a helping hand. Michael Bixler reports > more

Another Apartment Tower Announced For East Market

Another Apartment Tower Announced For East Market

August 25, 2016  |  Morning Blend

DC-based company envisions 21-story tower at 1199 Ludlow, Logan neighborhood plan approved, Philly’s love and hate relationship with Dîner en Blanc, and new law to make recreation spaces more inclusive > more

Community Meeting Reveals Widespread Indignation With Jewelers Row Demolition

Community Meeting Reveals Widespread Indignation With Jewelers Row Demolition

August 24, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Jewelers bemoan Toll Brothers plan, bowling lanes and movie screens coming to Canal Street entertainment district, ethnic masses sustaining several former Catholic parish churches, keeping libraries relevant, and an auto-garage conversion on North Broad > more

Unlisted Philadelphia: Substation #7

Unlisted Philadelphia: Substation #7

August 23, 2016  |  Vantage

Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places with his architectural illustration series, Unlisted Philadelphia. With this installment, an electrical substation in Art Deco disguise > more

Don't Move Frank, Says Smerconish

Don’t Move Frank, Says Smerconish

August 22, 2016  |  Morning Blend

Smerconish defends Rizzo statue, gauging South Philadelphians’ opinion on South Broad median parking, and 23 units envisioned for St. Laurentius > more