The New Granada Theater Listed on National Register of Historic Places
The New Granada Theater, which housed a prominent Hill District civic organization, and was also used as a movie theater, live entertainment venue, and community center for decades, has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The listing, announced January 7, is the result of a submission of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) and the Hill Community Development Corporation (Hill CDC).
Designed in 1927 by Louis A.S. Bellinger, Pittsburgh’s first African American architect, the three-story building located at 2009-11 Centre Avenue was the Knights of Pythias Temple—an African American fraternal organization—from its opening in 1928 to 1936. It re-opened as the New Granada Theater in May 1937, under the management of the Handel Theater Corporation and remained active until the 1970s when it closed under private ownership. After years of vacancy and deterioration, the Hill CDC purchased the building in June 1995, with the help of a loan from PHLF.
The Hill CDC and PHLF collaborated on a $1.1 million stabilization of the New Granada in 2007-10, funded by The Heinz Endowments, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program, and Allegheny County’s Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund.
African American architect, Milton Ogot, and Repal Construction Company assisted with the stabilization project.
“The renewal of this building will anchor future development in the entire area. We look forward to the results of the visioning process now underway by the Hill CDC,” said PHLF President Arthur Ziegler.
The New Granada is one of 32 sites in Pittsburgh’s Hill District featured in PHLF’s forthcoming book, August Wilson: Pittsburgh Places in His Life and Plays, by Laurence A. Glasco and Christopher Rawson, with introductions by Kimberly C. Ellis and Sala Udin. A book signing and celebration, free to the public, will be on Saturday, February 26, 1-3pm, Ebenezer Baptist Church, 2001 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219. Reservations required: email@example.com; 412-471-5808 ext. 527.