327 Seneca Street,
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Architects: William Harold Lee
Styles: Art Deco
Previous Names: Colonel Drake Theatre
The Drake Theatre is located on Seneca Street on the north side of Oil City, in north western Pennsylvania. The theatre opened as the Colonel Drake Theatre on August 27, 1928, designed by Philadelphia theatre architect William H. Lee. The exterior style is Art Deco. A sketch, likely prepared before construction, of the theatre’s exterior is on page 12 of Volume Two of the book “American Theatres of Today” (1930). The theatre was equipped with a Wurlitzer 3 manual 11 ranks pipe organ which was opened by Scranton based organist Clark Piers. Colonel Edwin L. Drake (1819-1880) popularly credited with being the first to drill for oil in the United States.
The theatre has been through several floods. It had a balcony which was no longer open, even when the theatre was. There were two matching staircases, but one was removed to make room for a snack bar. It closed in July 1986 with Robin Williams in “Club Paradise”, when the theatre at the Cranberry Mall expanded from three screens to five. For a short while in the mid-1990’s, it reopened as a playhouse.
As of 2013, it appears to be for sale for whoever wishes to turn it into a residence. It was demolished in November 2021.
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