1 E. First Street,
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Latonia Theater (Official)
Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.
Firms: Marks & Carr
Functions: Ballroom, Conference Center, Movies (Film Festivals)
Styles: Art Deco
The Latonia Theater was opened on March 4, 1929 at the cost of half a million dollars. Seating was provided for 1,520 with 960 in the orchestra, 500 in the balcony and 60 in the loge. It was independently operated until 1942 when it was taken over by Warner Brothers Circuit Management Corp. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual 8 ranks organ. The last movie shown at the Latonia Theater was in 1969.
There was interest in using the theater as a live performance showcase, but that was ultimately unsuccessful. The theater was converted into a furniture showroom in 1972. The Wurlitzer organ has been removed from the building in 1988 and has been installed in the Venango Museum of Art, Science and Industry, Oil City, where it is used for occasional concerts.
In 2007, renovation work was carried out on the upper section to convert the Latonia Theatre into a ballroom/conference center.
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Recent comments (view all 67 comments)
For anyone that’s interested, the architectual firm that designed the Latonia was Marks & Karr from Pittsburgh. They are no longer in business.
thelatonia: Great to read your “The Latonia is REBORN”!“ post…let us know how the grand opening went on February 1.
The Grand Opening was fabulous! The evening kicked off with a Venango Area Chamber of Commerce Mixer – the biggest mixer in the Chamber’s history. It was a “celebrate great things in the region” night with 16 organizations around the room with displays highlighting their projects. As we cut the ribbon, the house lights went off and the chandelier lit up for the first time in decades! We had our first concert the next weekend and are working a schedule of events. Meanwhile, private bookings are underway.
Great to read that “the chandelier lit up for the first time in decades.” Congratulations and I hope to make a trip to Oil City this summer to witness your continued progress!
I am glad to know that the Latonia has been restored. It is important to preserve the beauty of such theatres.
Many things happening at the Latonia. Much work to do!! May and June every Friday night is “Live” at the Latonia night. Some great entertainment, regional promotion, giveways in the historical Latonia tradition… Working hard to support the community and raise funds for this great project. Visit www.thelatonia.com for more. Also, see our videos on www.youtube.com/thelatonia Look forward to seeing all of you this summer for many events.
thelatonia: Great to read your recent post! Hope to visit the theatre again this summer!
More recent views of The Latonia may be seen in the documentary film, “Out in the Silence”.
Just saw the documentary Out in the Silence on PBS — a very good, enlightening show — and was pleased to see so much footage about the re-opening of this theater and the girls who bought it and worked hard to bring it back to life. So of course I came here straight-away to find out more.
What’s the present status? It seems the website is down but I hope the theater is still in some kind of performance use.
I also hope this theatre/ballroom/venue is doing well, and if I’m ever visiting that part of Pennsylvania, I’ll be sure to come check it out!