Arsenal Theatre

4109 Butler Street,
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Rowland and Clark Theaters, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Victor A. Rigaumont

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Arsenal Theatre

Located in the Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. The Arsenal Theatre was opened by 1914. By 1922 it had been equipped with a theatre pipe organ supplied by Peloubet & Co. of Oakland, CA. It was remodeled to the plans of architect Victor A. Rigaumont and reopened by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. on August 15, 1941 with James Cagney in “The Bride Came C.O.D.”.

It was closed on August 15, 1965 with Julie Andrews in “Mary Poppins”.

Contributed by Rick Aubrey

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

edblank on January 9, 2010 at 11:44 am

Excellent, Chuck. Thanks.

map351 on February 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Anyone have any pictures of the Arsenal Theater? I spent many Saturdays there watching movies all day long for 50 cents. I guess it was in 65 or 66 I watched the wrecking ball have it’s way with the Arsenal.


Patsy on September 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

I just located a lady who remembers this theater as she grew up in Lawrenceville PA.

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Thanks so much for posting the article, the photos, etc., everyone. I do indeed remember this theater. Remember going to see “The Great Escape” there, Frankie & Annette, Vincent Price, Peter Sellers, and finally “Mary Poppins.” I was only in grade school when it closed, but the memories are indeliable. I remember the concession stand was actually inside the theater itself. It was like a small open hut. Next to it was a soda machine, that dispensed the soda into a paper cup. You had to drink the soda, before you took your seat. Tickets were purchased outside at the ticket window. You then proceeded inside, up the carpeted hallway (it seemed long to me, but it probably wasn’t), gave the usher your ticket, then went straight ahead through the doors. There, directly in front of you, was the concession stand. To go to seats, you simply turned left and walked until you would make a right down one of the aisles. We always seemed to sit all the way to the farthest left aisle. Never got to use the balcony. The stairs for that were just off the entrance hallway. Thanks again!

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Also – in the final years, I remember the theater having “bingo nights.” You’d get a paper bingo slip (I think they came with the purchase of your ticket), and theater manager would call the numbers on stage, prior to curtain time, or perhaps between double-features.

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 12:59 pm

…from the Pittsburgh Press theater ads, it appears that the last feature, “Mary Poppins,” was on August 15, 1965.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2013 at 2:28 am

The original Arsenal Theatre, opened by Rowland & Clark in 1915, was designed by architect Harry S. Bair. I’m not sure if any of the original 800-seat Arsenal’s structure was incorporated into the 1,150-seat replacement theater that was built by Warner Bros. in 1941, but judging from the Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to earlier I think it unlikely. Perhaps the original theater should have its own page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2013 at 3:13 am

The original Arsenal Theatre opened prior to 1914, according to an article in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. James Clark, of Rowland & Clark, was quoted as saying that they built the theater some time after acquiring the Oakland Theatre in 1911, but before building the Regent in 1914. The Arsenal was later enlarged to 750 seats, but the article doesn’t give a date for that project.

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