Moravia Theatre

1304 Moravia Street,
New Castle, PA 16101

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The Moravia Theatre was one of many make-shift nickelodeons that sprung up everywhere around the turn of the century. As told to me by a pioneer projectionist, the Moravia Theatre was constructed out of sheet metal which made the building very vulnerable to both heat and cold. The auditorium consisted of a single crank projector and a screen of sorts on the opposite wall. Barely more than a sideshow attraction, the projectionist would shuffle through a few travelogues or novelty reels, each lasting 5 to 7 minutes. In warm weather the manager would walk down the aisle spraying a scented mist over the heads of perspiring customers there to witness ‘the miracle of the Kinetomograph’. If room was needed for fresh customers, the projectionist was ordered to crank faster to help drive out patrons who were deemed beyond their nickels-worth. Opening by 1914 the Moravia Theatre closed in 1918.

Contributed by Jack Oberleitner

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 13, 2010 at 7:10 pm

Great story,some nights i wished our 35mm projectors could been speeded up.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 13, 2010 at 8:29 pm

I knows the feelin…

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on August 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Jack; These are great stories!

Not much of a chance, but it would be great to get an address, more info and photos.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on August 18, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Thanks :–)

Acrually, someone who still lives in New Castle could probably get the address from an old City Directory at the library.

BDirisio on May 28, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Located at 1304 Moravia Street, it was operated by J. Crestafano in 1914. While I couldn’t find an opening date, the above date of 1903 and closing of 1906 appears must be in error. The very first nickelodeon in the entire country didn’t open until 1905. New Castle’s first dedicated nickelodeon opened on Washington Street in December 1905.

50sSNIPES on November 18, 2021 at 5:24 pm

BDirl is right. The Moravia Theatre continued their operation until closing in 1918. Just like him, I cannot find the opening date either.

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