Kichel Theatre

109 S. 5th Street,
Jeannette, PA 15644

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Prior to taking over the Princess Theatre in 1925, Oliver Kihchel operated a theater in Jeannette called the Eagle, opened in December, 1910.

The Princess Theatre was in operation at least as early as 1916, when it was mentioned in The Moving Picture World. It’s possible that the Princess was built to replace an opera house that burned in 1910.

There is an early postcard photo of the Princess on page 16 of Jeannette, by Terry Perich and Kathleen Perich.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 22, 2009 at 8:17 pm

The name of this theater is currently misspelled. The spelling Kihchel is used throughout the various items about it in issues of Boxoffice. I’m sometimes skeptical of spellings Boxoffice gives, but in this case they agree with posts about the Kihchel family of Jeannette at a couple of genealogy sites, and a history of the town published in 2005.

The Kihchel Theatre was built by Mrs. Bessie Kihchel, widow of Princess Theatre owner Oliver A. Kihchel, and her sons Oliver D. and Burt R. Kihchel.

The April 8, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that construction was about to begin on the new Kihchel Theatre. The item said that the Princess Theatre would be closed in May, and that all but its alley-side wall would be demolished, so the new theater was almost entirely new construction.

The September 2, 1950, issue of Boxoffice said that the Kihchel Theatre had opened on August 25. With 800 seats, the new theater was almost twice the size of the Princess. The new house was designed by architects Sorber & Horne.