Capitol Theatre

S. Mercer Street,
New Castle, PA 16101

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Opera House

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Capitol Theatre

Built in 1867 as ca market & public hall. It was converted into the Opera House in 1898 and had 1,300 seats. It was remodeled in 1924 and reopened as the Capitol Theatre on November 10, 1924. The Capitol Theatre was destroyed by fire in February 1932 and razed in 1938.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 13, 2010 at 10:20 am

This was a very ornate theatre used for both movies and vaudeville.
Many notable acts of the time were featured on the Capitol stage including Al Jolson and a very young newcomer, Bob Hope. A former cashier in many New Castle theatres, Helen Harding, remembers the time a (then poor) Bob Hope split his trousers while performing his comedy/variety act. Since they were Hope’s only pants, Miss Harding invited him home where she mended his pants and fed him a welcome, hot meal. She reported to say that “Hr (Hope) was very kind and a perfect gentleman.”

The night the Capitol burned down the marquee announced the next attraction: “Fireman Save My Child.”

Predator on May 29, 2017 at 3:27 am

The Capitol Theatre was located on South Mercer Street. The theatre was destroyed in a February 1932 fire. The building was demolished six years later.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2017 at 6:44 am

The building that became the Capitol Theatre was built in 1867, opening in the fall of that year. The ground floor housed a public market, and upstairs was a public space called Shenango Hall. In 1898 the building was sold to Jacob F. Genkinger, who remodeled it into a ground floor theater called the Opera House. It was listed in the Cahn guides with 1,300 seats and a stage 34x62 feet.

In 1924 the Opera House was remodeled, and the November 22 issue of Moving Picture World reported that the Capitol Theatre had been one of six new movie houses to open in western Pennsylvania on November 10:

“Ben Burke opened the old Opera House at New Castle and rechristened it the Capitol. The house has also been extensively remodeled, and $20,000 was spent in building the lobby alone.”
This web page has an early photo of the Opera House, probably from around 1900, and scans of advertisements for the theater over a span of about two decades.

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