Refowich Theatre,
                postcard


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History of Freeland, Pa.
Entertainment

What's on this page:
  • Information on the theatres
  • Listings from city directories

On related pages:



THEATRES IN FREELAND

Much of the information in this first section comes from Charlie Stumpf's notes and publications. Charlie loved theatre and was himself a writer and actor in addition to being a local historian.

[Images from  C. Tancin unless otherwise credited.]

Much of the information in this first section comes from Charlie Stumpf's notes and publications. Charlie loved theatre and was himself a writer and actor in addition to being a local historian.

Refowich interior Refowich Theatre The Refowich Theatre - Built in 1914 by Jake, Ike and Moe Refowich, this building has since been converted to apartments, but it still retains a good deal of its architectural charm. The first 'talking picture' in Freeland was shown here in 1929. In 1974 the building was sold and remodeled for apartments. Photo at left comes courtesy of Ed Merrick, who copied it years ago from Stanley Potosky, who was projectionist at the Refowich in the 1960s. Ed wrote this about it: "This is the interior of the Refowich in the 1940s. Notice all the kids up front. They were sitting in what was notoriously known as the First 6, a zone zealously enforce by the ushers. The seats were not upholstered and were for use by children not accompanied by an adult. Adults and kids accompanied by adults could sit in the upholstered seats. Trying to sneak back to the padded seats when the movie began became an adventure, more often than not thwarted by the ushers. The restrooms were under the stairs to the balcony, the men's on the left in the photo and the women's on the right. Notice also the standees, a common occurrence in those days because you didn't purchase a ticket for a particular showing and could stay as long as you wished. We kids would always stay to see "the good part" a second time."

Refowich
                Theatre student ticket, 1935

In early August 2014 I received this email message from Harold Refowich:
Hi Charlotte, The attached photo is of an original student ticket for the Refowich Theater, dated September 15, 1935. I have the ticket in my possession as it was given to me recently by a friend who purchased it on E-Bay. I thought it might be an interesting post to your website. ... Harold
--- Thank you, Harold! This ticket is a great addition to this page and I appreciate your sharing it.

Refowich Theatre
                staff, 1929

Here too is another piece of Refowich history, sent by Lisa Merlo, granddaughter of Joe Chaykowski from Joe's Meat Market. This clipping shows the staff of the Refowich Theatre in 1929, a photo that was published in the Freeland Pennysaver. According to the caption, pictured are: back row, left to right, Peters, Thomcho, Michael Sauln, George Lazo, Andrew Makuta, Hudock, and Peters; front row, left to right, Morris Finkle, projectionist; Clyde Klinger, manager; Angie Marchetti, box office; and Jack Golden, organist. Thanks, Lisa!

Rialto
                  Theatre, 1941 The Timony Theatre, The Strand, and the Rialto - Built by Peter Timony, this building on South St. just west of Centre St. was a dance hall and theatre in its early years. Movies were shown there from 1920 and the theatre became The Strand in 1935 and then the Rialto in 1938, where movies were shown until 1957. Later the building was used as a factory and then stood unused for some years until it was torn down in March 2003 as part of a commercial redevelopment project. Photo at left was scanned at the Greater Hazleton Historical Society Museum.

Auditorium
                  Theatre at St. Mary's The Auditorium Theatre - Located in St. Mary's School auditorium on Fern St., this moving picture theatre operated 1931-1954. Image at right was scanned at the Greater Hazleton Historical Society Museum.

Popular Drive-In Popular Drive-In - Located on the Freeland-White Haven Highway (Rte. 940), this aptly named popular outdoor theatre showed its first movie in 1949, and ceased operation in 1978. Photo at left comes courtesy of John Zubach, and shows his brother Tom standing at the entrance to the Popular Drive-In.

The Lyric - At Krell's Hall, later the opera house (see below) at Front and Washington, this moving picture theatre opened in 1908.

1912
                  Sanborn map detail Postcard of Centre
                  and South Streets The Star - Of this theatre Charlie Stumpf wrote: "In operation by 1910, The Star was located on Centre St. above South St., at a site which later became a pool hall." Well, that has to be the old poolroom just up from Nocchi's on Centre Street, later the Brazina and Meyers poolroom. Sure enough, the 1912 Sanborn map (detail at right) shows that part of the block with a movie theatre in the poolroom building, and a dance hall (Timony Hall, later the Rialto) behind the building that would later become Nocchi's (which in 1912 had a saloon in one half and a drug store in the other). The postcard at right (postmarked 1910) shows that part of the block looking north around this time, and The Star would have been in the 3rd building from the corner on the left side of the street.

The People's Theatre - [Mentioned by Charlie Stumpf, but I don't know anything about this theatre, need to find notes on location, management, dates, etc.]



ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED ON 1895 SANBORN MAP

Opera House
Freeland Opera House


ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED IN 1895 CITY DIRECTORY


Freeland Opera House, John Yannes, prop. - southwest corner Front and Washington


ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED IN 1897 CITY DIRECTORY

Freeland Opera House, John Welsh, mgr. - Ridge corner Luzerne
Yannes Opera House, John Yannes, mgr. - Washington corner Front

and in the individual listings in this same directory:
Welsh, J. J., manager, Grand Opera House, 133 Adams, h
Yannes, John, hotel, Washington cor Front, h, w
Yannes Opera House, Front cor Washington, w


ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED ON 1900 SANBORN MAP


Freeland Opera House
Opera House


ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED IN 1900-1901 CITY DIRECTORY

Freeland Opera House - Ridge


ENTERTAINMENT VENUES LISTED ON 1905, 1912, 1923 AND 1929 SANBORN MAPS

Opera House



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Site contructed by C. Tancin.
The URL for this page is: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/ct0u/frldentertainment.html