Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Montgomery Theater

Things change

The old Montgomery Theater will soon be demolished to make room for a 71 unit mixed use apartment building. The new structure will also occupy the dentist office, an open lot which was the former site of the Thriftway Market and Lou Wolff and Sons auto dealership formerly an Atlantic or ARCO Gas Station.
The Montgomery Theater, at 523-27 E Girard Ave, operated from 1912 to 1936 according to Cinema Tours. My parents use to go there when they were young. Lou Wolff purchased the building in the early 1950's. It was a huge undertaking to pour a new concrete floor that created a level surface from the slightly downward slope of the theater's seating as told by his son Luke. The building was then used as a retail car lot and later, more so, for automobile storage.
Remnants of the the theater are clearly visible such as the the lobby floor tiles that spell out the word Montgomery. The ceiling above the lobby has faint reminders of its design pattern. You can still see the ornate base of the once hanging chandeliers. The movie screen is partially raised to reveal a small but useful stage area. Above the stage are the remnants of the pulley wheels used to lift both the curtain and the screen. This space had been used for hub cap storage and what have you. The cellar is still accessible near the front of the theater but the metal floor door was blocked by a car. The projection room has long since been converted into office space. No projector portals remain. The building, in general, is in a state of disrepair that includes a crumbling ceiling and roof. I only wish that a picture could be found when the theater was operating in its prime.

This old characteristic of Fishtown will soon fade away. The greater loss is an honest and reliable used car dealership that served many a Fishtown family, including my father and daughter, over the years.
(click picture for slideshow)

words and pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved  

1 comment:

  1. Sad. The lack of imagination of our misbegotten age is on display here.

    Poor form.