Saturday, September 10, 2011

Astor Theatre, 730-42 Penn St., Reading, PA

The Astor opened in 1928, designed by William H. Lee.

Reopened May 28, 1941.(boxoffice,1941-06-07)
The Art Deco theatre operated until 1975.

In the late 50's it was operated by William Goldman Theaters of Philadelphia.
After the Astor closed, it reopened for a short time as an X-rated movie house.

Hot Tuna performed here on 11/19/76.

The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Red Skelton was in Reading in early 1978 to support the restoration.(sterforth-cinematreasures)  However, it stood unused since the late 1970s, and although structurally sound, was in substandard condition.

Photo courtesy of Sharon Staller

Unfortunately, the Astor was razed in 1998 to clear the way for the Sovereign Center arena. Some architectural details were salvaged from the Astor and recycled in the Sovereign Center.

The Astor Theatre, a Magical Realm of Royalty by Eileen M. Dietrich; published by Benjamin L. Bernhart; 72 pages; 8.5 by 11 inches softbound; about 97 illustrations; includes an affecting dedication, table of contents, acknowledgments, end notes, and a bibliography.

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2000

Astor Theatre (added 2000 - Building - #78002346)
730--742 Penn St., Reading
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer: Lee,William H.
Architectural Style: Art Deco
Area of Significance: Performing Arts, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Private

Jerry performed here on
9/20/76 Jerry Garcia Band

1.)^Jensen, Bob, comments, 2010-07-01,
2.)^Vogel, Joe, comments, 2011-01-03,
4.)^Hexfest, comments,!topic/
5.)^Gehman, Geoff, The Morning Call, 1987-09-06,