Philadelphia’s Jumbo Theatre gutted

Howard Haas shares this sad report.
According to the late Irvin Glazer’s hardbook book on Philadelphia theaters, Philadelphia’s Jumbo Theatre with 1300 seats was one of the largest in the city when it opened in 1909. It was redesigned in 1912 by Philadelphia theater architects Hoffman and Henon. It became a warehouse after closing in 1960s. Plans in recent years to restore hidden decor so it would be a music venue and restaurant were opposed by the community.
The hidden ornate decor has recently been unveiled, but sadly merely for purposes of gutting it, reportedly so it can be a dollar store.
Here’s a link to photos of its ORIGINAL DECOR uncovered, and gutted.

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  1. Gary Parks

    Just what we need: More dollar stores, now a ubiquitous symptom of the Middle Class’s further decline/extinction and consumption of plastic garbage from a certain Most Favored Nation. Economic/political ranting aside, it’s pathetic that the interior of the Jumbo was not saved, so that, even as a dollar store, there would be something fun for patrons to look at. The combination of original Baroque plasterwork and later High Deco plasterwork was intriguing. The former Rivoli Theatre in Berkeley, CA (Mark T. Jorgensen, late 1920s) is now a dollar store, after having been a supermarket and a drug store. When converted from supermarket to drug store in the 1990s, all of the surviving auditorium decor was uncovered, repaired where needed–though I wouldn’t call it a full restoration–and looks fantastic. It has been retained in the dollar store conversion.

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