Rowland Theatre

127 N. Front Street,
Philipsburg, PA 16866

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Related Websites

Rowland Theatre (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Carmike Cinemas

Architects: Julian Millard

Functions: Movies

Styles: Art Deco

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 814.342.0477

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Rowland in 1917

The Rowland Theatre in on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1917 by local soft coal magnate and U.S. Congressman Charles Hedding Rowland, who also refurbished the Rowland House on South Centre Street. The theatre occupies the space of the Pearce Opera Hose that burned on December 31, 1910. Perhaps because of the history of the site, Charles Rowland liked to explain that his theatre was completely fireproof. Many building of this ere were fireproof, meaning they had concrete walls, floors and roofs. The original theatre marquee was made of opaque white and green glass. The original marquee is partially intact and was recently uncovered. The Rowland Board is seeking funds to restore it. The theatre has a lovely lobby with a stained glass skylight and painted murals. Below the stage are dressing rooms and a ‘green room’. At the back of the building there were large doors that backed onto the railroad siding. When the circus came to town, the animals and big equipment moved directly from the rail cars to the back of the stage.

Its large size, sound construction, and lavish decor bear witness to Mr. Rowland’s conception of the theater as a public necessity. In its early days the theater housed a diversified program of movies and live theatrical attractions, but more recently it has served predominately as a movie house.

The Rowland Theatre today is owned by the Philipsburg Borough and is under the management of a non-profit organization, Rowland Theatre Incorporated. Recent renovations have vastly improved the appearance of the interior. With its big screen and Dolby sound, the theatre attracts movie fans from all over central Pennsylvania. Many celebrities have performed in or visited the theatre over the years, including President Carter, Eric Estrada, Cahal Dunn and others.

Contributed by mpm243, Emily Doyle

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

richardg on February 7, 2004 at 4:07 pm

I’ve been to this theatre twice and enjoyed it both times. The balcony is always open to patrons. Philipsburg is a small community and I find it amazing they have a theatre this large. What’s more amazing is there’s another large theatre just a block away. Although now closed, I think that when it was open it would have taken the entire town’s population to fill the two theatres. There’s a terrific chocolate store across from the theatre with lots of homemade candies.

MMBB on September 17, 2004 at 12:34 pm

As a recent discoverer of The Rowland, I am so grateful to the borough of Philipsburg for preserving this historical treasure – regardless of what’s playing, I make it a point when in town to catch a film and for a few hours step back in time to the movies the way my parents and grandparents experienced it! Please continue to restore and treasure this magnificent landmark, especially in the wake of the recent demolition of the Winburne, PA firehouse, which at one time was a beautiful movie theatre in its own right.

richardg on May 27, 2005 at 9:45 pm

The name of the other theatre in Philipsburg is the Majestic. It was a furniture store for a period of time but, I believe, it is now empty.

papapi on January 16, 2009 at 6:53 pm

Rowland Theatre, Philipsburg, PA
Architect: Julian Hillard
Engineer: W.A. Hoyt

MPol on June 24, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Thanks, Lost Memory. This looks like a nice theatre. Are there any photos of the interior? Just curious.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 5, 2011 at 5:43 am

Architect Julian Millard (not Hillard) was apparently also the designer of the Capitol Theatre at Altoona, Pennsylvania.

richardg on April 15, 2021 at 8:25 pm

I revisited the Rowland 2 years ago and the balcony was still open to patrons. This time I got a behind the scenes tour by a young woman who managed the theatre. The second floor of the building originally contained several offices and the third floor was a ballroom. Other than the theatre the whole building is vacant. The third floor would make an excellent fitness center or yoga studio. The second floor is ideally suited for single use offices. Unfortunately, there is only one entrance/exit so todays zoning prohibits it usage. It’s very likely this great space will remain unused

JRHagan on July 6, 2023 at 2:57 pm

A new short film about THE ROWLAND THEATRE will be availible this weekemd, a preview is availble now at this location on youtube

JRHagan on July 21, 2023 at 5:57 am


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