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History of Latrobe's Theaters

The Grand Theater at 207 Main Street. Other theaters in Latrobe in 1918 were the Paramont at 225 Main later named the Manos and the Olympic at 317 Main which started as the Twilight and was also known as the Ranch.

First Theater

Latrobe’s theater history began on January 5, 1884—opening night of the new Showalter Opera House.

William A. Showalter, a local brick maker and butcher, had expanded his business enterprises by constructing an opulent theater on Depot Street between Ligonier and Jefferson Streets. The theater itself was located on the second floor and seated more than 1000 patrons. The aisles and stairs were carpeted, and the seats were upholstered. The boxes were appointed with red velvet seats and curtains, and the walls were decorated with finely painted frescoes.

It may seem unlikely that a small town like Latrobe could make such an elaborate venue profitable, but the Opera House was close to both the railroad station and to several hotels—an ideal location for attracting some of the most celebrated speakers and dramatic offerings of the time. Theatrical companies found more profit in touring than in maintaining stock companies at one location. The productions traveled by train, and Latrobe was located on the main line.

For more than three decades, the Showalter Theater hosted some of the most renowned professionals of the time, and also provided a venue for plays featuring local talent.

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Theaters in Latrobe
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