Jefferson Theatre

230 N. Findley Street,
Punxsutawney, PA 15767

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: H.C. Parks

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The 1,200-seat Jefferson Theatre was opened November 24, 1905 with the comic opera “The Princess Chic”. A Wurlitzer theatre organ opus 730 style “D” was installed in the Jefferson Theatre on November 10, 1923. The Jefferson Thearer was closed in 1978. In 1985 the vacant building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It was demolished in 1998.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Patsy on January 19, 2015 at 5:45 pm

Will try and contact someone with the historical society in the town to see if I can find out anything… particularly when the Wurlitzer was removed and where it is today!

50sSNIPES on February 2, 2023 at 12:51 pm

The actual opening date was November 24, 1905 with a presentation of Blaine Von Thiele in “The Princess Chic”. It was first operated under the management of Edward R. Salter.

Not just films but for a time, the Jefferson was popular for local politician events. The Jefferson had a mix of movies and special events.

On October 18, 1951, Republican Chairman Grant Scheafnocker tripped and fell while walking out of the Jefferson Theatre. He fractured his leg and was taken back to his house without incident.

The Jefferson Theatre remains as the only surviving movie theater in Punxsutawney after the closures of both Skyline Drive-In and Alpine Theatres, until the Jefferson closed for the final time on October 6, 1978. This left moviegoers across the Groundhog Capital to go see films in DuBois or Brookville, both of which were 20 miles away. The Jefferson Theatre was demolished 20 years later in 1998 after leaving it abandoned for two long decades.

50sSNIPES on February 2, 2023 at 1:26 pm

On May 17, 1993, the Punxsutawney Arts Council tried to reopen the Jefferson Theatre. At the time, the theater was still abandoned, which sat abandoned since the theater’s closure for the final time on October 6, 1978. They tried to form a committee comprised of individuals with an interest in the restoration and reopening of the theater. The general idea at the time for the city’s Arts Council is to create “an umbrella organization to work with existing groups to expand cultural development” according to one of its members who also respond that the restoration and reopening should be considered as a part of the overall downtown renovation of people across Punxsutawney and will be a major step in economic recovery of the community. A total of four subcommittees were formed and one exclusively involved in restoring the theater. Two proposals to conduct architecture studies of the Jefferson Theatre and to approach renovation was expected at the time. Unfortunately, they failed to reopen the theater.

Shortly during its last days as a movie theater in the 1970s, the Jefferson Theatre was last managed and operated by Patsy Barber, a local resident who also is a longtime Democratic Party worker. The Jefferson Theatre was also named in the Pennsylvania Registry of Historic Places.

During the week of August 11, 1998, the theater was demolished forcibly.

Patsy on February 2, 2023 at 5:54 pm

For Punxy to have lost its theatre(s) is a crime.

Patsy on February 2, 2023 at 5:57 pm

And to think it had a Wurlitzer is amazing. Does anyone know what happened to it???

Patsy on February 3, 2023 at 11:45 am

Would be nice to research this re: the Wurlitzer. I know an organ restorer and will ask him. In the meantime, will contact the Punxsutawney Historical Society.

50sSNIPES on February 4, 2023 at 7:11 am

That’ll be a great idea!

Patsy on February 4, 2023 at 7:16 am

My organ source has told me at the time of the theatre demise the organ was sold.

50sSNIPES on February 4, 2023 at 8:40 am

Alright. So it’s somewhere.

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