Colonial Theatre

225 Market Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17101

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Fabian Theaters, Wilmer & Vincent Corp.

Architects: Fuller Claflin, Matthew Wilson

Styles: Greek Revival

Nearby Theaters

News About This Theater

Colonial Theatre

The Colonial Theatre was opened on November 4, 1912 with movies and vaudeville. It was still operating as a movie theatre in February 1977 but had closed by 1978 when the empty building suffered some damage in a fire. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 26 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 10, 2014 at 9:49 pm

I wonder if gremlins got into somebody’s keyboard along the way, and the “Flin, Cla” that the NRHP document (cited in the very first comment on this theater by LostMemory) names as one of the architects or builders of the Colonial Theatre is actually Fuller Claflin? Claflin did design at least one theater in Harrisburg- the Lyceum (later the Orpheum), built in 1903 and reportedly demolished in 1925 to make way for the State Theatre. I’m skeptical that anyone has ever borne the odd name Cla Flin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 12, 2014 at 11:38 am

I’ve found a number of errors in the NRHP’s listings, usually misspellings and sometimes wrong dates. I doubt that they’ll ever get around to correcting them. But “Flin, Cla” is one of the oddest things I’ve seen there. It sounds like it would be the name of a character in a bad sword and sorcery novel.

LorinWeigard on September 18, 2014 at 7:20 am

The story I heard about the Colonial from a veteran vaudvillian who had a dance team with his wife (and later was Mae West’s road manager), they loved playing the Colonial; it was a short skip and a jump from the train station with their trunks and props down the alley to the Colonial’s backstage door.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 8, 2020 at 6:41 pm

A short article in the November 20, 1978 issue of Boxoffice said that the Colonial Theatre in Harrisburg had suffered major damage from a probable arson fire on October 29. The house had been permanently closed some years earlier. The article noted that part of the building dated back to the mid-1830s, when it had housed the Wilson Hotel. The building was partly demolished and rebuilt and opened as the Colonial Theatre in 1912.

RickB on March 9, 2020 at 5:02 am

Still operating as of February 16, 1977, when this theater made what must have been a very rare appearance in the Philadelphia papers' display ads, showing the double bill of “Blast” and “TNT Jackson” (seen on the marquee in one of the pictures). Only a few Philly-area theaters booked this pairing, so the ad space was padded with some houses in outlying cities.

dallasmovietheaters on July 4, 2020 at 6:13 am

Opened November 4, 1912 with motion pictures and vaudeville.

Jake Bottero
Jake Bottero on May 15, 2021 at 6:53 am

Unless they built an exact duplicate, this building has not been demolished.

Ross Care
Ross Care on January 19, 2023 at 9:49 am

The original building was restored.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 19, 2023 at 1:28 pm

While the front building which housed the Colonial Theatre’s entrance is still standing, the auditorium section was entirely demolished in 1983. There are press photos of the event available on ebay from the Historic Images Company. The auditorium’s site is occupied by a fairly sensitively designed five story office and retail building which harmonizes well with the historic front structure but is clearly built of modern materials.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 19, 2023 at 1:33 pm

Also we have the current address wrong. Google Street view shows 225 Market above the entrance.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater.