Historic Rowland Theater in Centre County PA


The Rowland TheaterThe Rowland Theater is located in Philipsburg, Centre County, Pennsylvania. It is a historic single screen movie theater, built in 1917by Charles Hedding Rowland.

The site that Rowland Theater now resides on was previously occupied by the Pierce Opera House. It was owned by Philipsburg business man J.H. Pierce and was built sometime before 1889. Unfortunately, on December 30, 1910 the three story building was destroyed in a fire and the remains were purchased by the Rowland family on December 31, 1915. After purchasing the Opera House, Charles Rowland immediately began making plans for the construction of a building in which there could be live theatrical performances as well as public meetings. Since its creation, Rowland Theater has now been purchased by the Philispburg Borough and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

After completion of the construction of the theater, Rowland released this statement in a brochure distributed to the public on opening night June, 1917:

“The people of Philipsburg have long indulged the hope of a comfortable and commodious place of amusement and entertainment. For years we have had no suitable place for public meetings, entertaining conventions, or any auditorium large enough for the varied necessities of a community as large as ours. Such a building is a public necessity. The town needs it in order to keep pace with out sister communities. Community growth would be retarded without such a public convenience.

"I have felt that we should have a theatre building in Philipsburg of size, safety and perfection of appointment that would anticipate the future, maintain our best past traditions, reflect a progressive spirit, while affording us a place to spend a delightful evening at home. It is proposed to stage only plays and moving pictures of class and quality. I trust the people of Philipsburg, together with those who come from surrounding towns, may enjoy the playhouse now dedicated to their use and pleasure. I wish to take this occasion to say to the theatre going public that it has been a source of some gratification to have been the one permitted to open to the general public a place for its comfort and entertainment.”

“The people of Philipsburg have long indulged the hope of a comfortable and commodious place of amusement and entertainment. For years we have had no suitable place for public meetings, entertaining conventions, or any auditorium large enough for the varied necessities of a community as large as ours. Such a building is a public necessity. The town needs it in order to keep pace with out [sic?] sister communities. Community growth would be retarded without such a public convenience.

"I have felt that we should have a theatre building in Philipsburg of size, safety and perfection of appointment that would anticipate the future, maintain our best past traditions, reflect a progressive spirit, while affording us a place to spend a delightful evening at home. It is proposed to stage only plays and moving pictures of class and quality. I trust the people of Philipsburg, together with those who come from surrounding towns, may enjoy the playhouse now dedicated to their use and pleasure. I wish to take this occasion to say to the theatre going public that it has been a source of some gratification to have been the one permitted to open to the general public a place for its comfort and entertainment.”

 

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