3421 Kensington Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Stanley-Warner Theatres, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Functions: Banquet Hall
The Harrowgate Theatre was built in 1920 for independent operators, but was taken over in January 1921 by the Stanley Theatres chain and was opened by them on January 24, 1921 with Douglas Fairbanks in “The Mark of Zorro”. It had a seating capacity of 1,133. It was equipped with a Moellor 2 manual 9 ranks organ. The theatre was located on Kensington Avenue at E. Russell Street. The Harrowgate Theatre closed sometime in 1954.
It was converted into a roller skating rink. The Moeller organ had been vandalized and othere were only 2 ranks of pipes remaining. According to the Philadelphia tax records, the mason-front building is still standing but in sub-par condition.
In 2011, the building was in use as a banquet hall.
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Recent comments (view all 5 comments)
Here is an undated photo:
The marquee is gone now and the lower half of the façade has been stuccoed over but the building still exists as banquet hall. The accompanying map is incorrect as it puts the theater in Harrowgate Park — between E. Tioga St. & E. Schiller St. The theater — at 3419-3423 Kensington Avenue — is between E. Schiller St. & E. Russell St.
Does anyone know who the architect was and in what style the Harrowgate was designed?
Also, a discrepancy exists between the year the Harrowgate opened (1923) and the year the Moller organ was installed (1920). Perhaps the theater was built around the organ?
Wide marquee and traditional art deco doors are dramatic. Would be nice to see interior pics.
The Harrowgate Theatre was built in 1920 for Lewin Pizor and Benjamin Dintenfass in Harrowgate Square. Just prior to launch, however, the Stanley Theatre Circuit bought the Harrowgate in January of 1921 for $160,000 (or $200,000, depending on which report) from Dintenfass. At opening the Harrowgate seated 1,133 in a 73' by 150' venue becoming the 35th Stanley operated theater in the city. The Moller organ, alone, cost $25,000. The opening film was “The Mark of Zorro” on January 24, 1921. The opening manager of George Sobel coming over from the Iris Theatre.
The Harrowgate added sound to remain viable. At the 20th Anniversary of the theatre, Stanley Warner updated the Harrowgate and a group of other venues to make them more streamline moderne. The Harrowgate Theatre was closed at the expiry of a 30-year lease on September 30, 1951 with “Apache Drums” and “Ma and Pa Kettle Back on the Farm.” The venue was transformed into the long-running Kensington Roller Rink.