ART Deco: The Anthony Wayne Theatre in Wayne, PA

Phone photos 202

The lovely town of Wayne is right down the road from Brick House 319. It’s where John grew up. Actually, his house had two addresses (Strafford and Wayne). Strafford doesn’t have a post office so his house had a Wayne zip code. More on his house later…a hint: McKim, Mead & White.

Wayne happens to be our favorite town on the Main Line. It’s a slice of Main Street Americana 17 miles west of Center City, Philadelphia, the birthplace of the nation. The bustling town has, of course, first and foremost, a train station.  A plethora of shops line Lancaster Avenue along with restaurants which include outdoor cafe seating, a hotel (built in 1906), a barber, a florist, a shoe store, a jewelry store (in the past a Woolworths–with a pet store in the basement) and the Anthony Wayne Theatre, an art deco landmark.

The theatre and town is named after Anthony Wayne, a general in the American Revolution. Harry Fried, the theatre owner, hired architect William Harold Lee to design the theatre, which for the era, was quite splashy. Lee chose standout colorful terra cotta details manufactured by the Conkling-Armstrong Terra Cotta Company located in Philadelphia.

When the theatre opened on June 20, 1928, the silent film Old San Francisco  was featured on the marquee. At the time, locals referred to the beautiful theatre as “Fried’s Folly.”

Moviegoers entered into a mirrored foyer and passed by a goldfish pond in the lobby’s alcove  and two fountains made of green mosaic tile. The main floor accommodated 1600 seats, a pipe organ and faux windows on each side of the theatre.

The theatre is still open for business and features mainstream movies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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