Thursday, 08 February 2024 00:08

Ambler Opera and Theater

Written by
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

While preparing for our next exhibit, Downtown: Then and Now, I came across this picture in our photograph collection.

Ambler Opera House

Harry Samuel Nash and Store Clerk, Haberdashery Store, HSMC Photographs Collection

According to the back of the photograph, it depicts Harry Samuel Nash and a store clerk in front of Nash's Haberdashery Store in Ambler. The photograph is dated around 1902 to 1904. Nash's store was located in the former Ambler Opera House.

opera house

Ambler Opera House, HSMC Photographs Collection

Like most buildings in Ambler, the Opera House was a product of the Keasbey and Mattison Company. It was built around 1889. The first floor housed six stores like Nash's until 1904. In 1928, the building was renovated into a movie theater.

OPERA house 1928

Ambler Opera House c. 1928, HSMC Photographs Collection

In our extensive N. Howard collection, which covers many aspects of Ambler, we are fortunate to have a few photographs of the Opera House. We even have photographs taken right before and during its demolition in 1967. From the demolition photographs, you can tell they were worried about the asbestos as some of the workers wore masks on the scene.

1967

Demolition of Ambler Opera House 1967, HSMC Photographs Collection

This building was located on Butler Pike between Maple Avenue and the railroad tracks. Today it is home to a parking lot and a French restaurant. Many other buildings in Ambler did not share the same fate as the Opera House.

 Ambler Theater 2

Ambler Theater, HSMC Photographs Collection

One example is the Ambler Theater, also located on Butler Pike. It opened in 1928 and was originally operated by Warner Brothers. This theater closed in 1969/1970 and was reopened as a Christian movie theater. By 1997, the theater closed again. It was purchased in 2001 and became the non-profit Ambler Theater, Inc. The group restored the theater in stages and continues to show films to this day in 2024.

Read 352 times Last modified on Thursday, 08 February 2024 00:30