Liberty Theatre

1425 E. Cecil B. Moore Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19121

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Albert E. Westover

Styles: French Renaissance

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Liberty Theatre

Not to be confused with the Liberty Theatre at Torresdale Avenue. This Liberty Theatre was located on E. Columbia Avenue (today renamed E. Cecil B. Moore Avenue). It was opened on December 5, 1910 and was built on the site of a small Liberty Theatre. Designed by architect Albert E. Westover with a seating capacity of 1,800. It began as a vaudeville theatre and also a drama playhouse. From 1914 movies were added to the program. In 1924 it was equipped with a Kimball 2 manual 8 ranks organ. Like the other Liberty Theatre, by 1941 they were both operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp. This Liberty Theatre was closed on January 1, 1968 with the documentary “Africa Addio”, Dean Martin in “Rough Night in Jericho” & James Drury in “The Young Warriors. It was demolished in 1974.

Contributed by Dave Litterer

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kencmcintyre on May 14, 2008 at 5:58 pm

This is a 1971 photo from They place the theater in the 1600 block of North Carlisle:

kencmcintyre on May 14, 2008 at 6:39 pm

I was thinking 1600 N. Columbia. You’re probably right.

shadowsandrust on September 5, 2013 at 7:48 am

Here is a shot of police checking the roof of the Liberty in 1964 after the Columbia Avenue riots.

RickB on September 5, 2013 at 3:46 pm

1425 West Columbia Avenue or 1425 East Columbia Avenue? The current street view and map go to East, but that area doesn’t look anything like the pictures. The address on Carlisle could have been on the side of a theater that fronted on West Columbia. West Columbia has been renamed Cecil B. Moore Avenue (after the theater’s demise), so any address on Columbia would probably automatically map as East.

shadowsandrust on September 15, 2013 at 9:24 am

This would have been just West of Broad Street.

shadowsandrust on September 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

Try this map link:

TheALAN on January 9, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Since Dave removed his comment, I’ll repost my comment from June 2, 2014 at 6:54 pm. Sorry Dave, you’re a little confused! It’s EAST Columbia Avenue (today renamed EAST Cecil B. Moore Avenue).

dallasmovietheaters on March 13, 2022 at 7:39 am

Why does it state that there is “little information on this theatre”? That seems to be quite untrue. Virtually every booking is listed in the local paper and it is given coverage in the trade press of the day. It has complete coverage in film yearbooks. What more does one want?

A . Fred Zimmerman launched the New Liberty on December 5, 1910 with acts ranging from the DeCosta Troupe to The Four TransAtlantics. It was located at 1425-1431 Columbia Avenue. The former Liberty Theatre was to have been razed with the new theater in the same spot according to articles in 1909 when the project was announced. However, when the project was actually created, the building plans allowed the former Liberty to remain in place continuing as a low-priced vaudeville house at 5 and 10 cent matinee shows. The upgraded New Liberty was proposed as a 2400-seat facility but reduced to a 1900-seat facility that had 800 balcony seats supported by a cantilever system 72 feet long. The venue was steel reinforced, fireproof, and had an exterior of brick and terra cotta. The venue was created with a Louis XV architectural style with decorations to match. The architect was famed Boston, Philadelphia and New York theater designer, Albert E. Westover. It opened with M.W. Taylor at the helm as a vaudeville house.

The Liberty switched away from vaudeville to motion pictures and equipped for sound to remain viable. It celebrated its 58th birthday in December of 1968 but that would be its swan song. “The Liberty Theater closed January 1, 1968 with “Africa Addio,” George Peppard in “Rough Night in Jericho” and James Drury in “The Young Warriors.” It was later demolished.

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