Lafayette Theater

2920 Kensington Avenue,
Philadelphia, PA 19134

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Additional Info

Architects: Carl P. Berger

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Lafayette Theater

The Electric Theatre was a nickelodeon which opened in the late-1900’s. It was enlarged and reopened as the Lafayette Theater in December 1913. All seating was on a single level. Entry was through a tall arch located on Kensington Street, with the auditorium set well back along a passage. It was closed as a silent movie theatre in 1929.

Today, the imposing arched façade is still partly recognizable but pretty damaged. It is used as an entrance to an adjacent car-wash. The auditorium is in use for multiple purposes for the community. The tenants said it has been totally gutted.

Contributed by Yves Marchand

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

TheALAN on January 26, 2014 at 11:00 pm

Doesn’t someone, anyone have something, anything to share about the Lafayette Theater? It did have a 21-year run.

dallasmovietheaters on February 15, 2022 at 12:25 pm

Architect Carl P. Berger created the the plans for the Lafayette Theatre on behalf of operator Michael Stiefel. It was built by B. Katchums and Son and opened late in 1913. The Lafayette sat 1,300 and its arched 20'x80' lobby was still recognizable from the 2914 Kensington Street entry in the 2020s. The auditorium portion is well back from the lobby sitting at the interior of 2919-2927 E Street. The Lafayette was a movie theater for its entire run of less than 17 years. Its halcyon days were when it had a contract with Paramount films. It also had a neighboring confectioner that served as the de facto concession stand.

The Lafayette did not make the transition to sound and was sold to a drug store operator in 1930. It’s not clear what happened to the Lafayette after 1930. When the building was next transferred in 1951, it was still referred to as “the former Lafayette Theatre.” The lobby portion of the former theatre was part of a car wash operation in the 2020s having had its interior gutted. The E Street auditorium was apparently still used for community events.

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