This little movie house, built as the Avenue Cinema in 1931, became the Art Cinema in 1935; from the 1960s until the 1990s, it showed “adult movies,” which old Pa Pitt assumed meant that all the films were over 21 years old. But it had begun life as an art-film house, and in 1995 it resumed that role under the name “Harris,” after one of the founders of the movie-theater business—John P. Harris, who with his brother-in-law opened the world’s first movie theater, the Nickelodeon, which was on Smithfield Street (a plaque marks the site today). Movies had been shown in theaters before, but the Nickelodeon was the first to show only movies. The idea caught on with amazing rapidity, and “Nickelodeons” sprouted everywhere.
The Clark Building was built in 1928 at the same time as the Stanley Theater (now the Benedum Center) around the corner, and designed by the same architects—the Hoffman-Henon Company, which specialized in theaters but could also turn out a pretty good skyscraper in a sort of modernized Beaux-Arts classical style. The upper floors are apartments, but the lower floors are still, as they have been for many years, the center of the jewelry district downtown.
Charles Bickel was quite at home in the Romanesque style, and he prospered in a city that had gone mad for Romanesque after Richardson’s County Courthouse appeared. The Ewart Building was put up in 1892. Old Pa Pitt was attracted to this morning view by the pattern of reflections on Liberty Avenue.
Two fine commercial buildings on Liberty Avenue. The large windows on the second, third, and fourth floors of No. 903 suggest workshops, which generally had the largest possible windows to take advantage of natural light.
Every once in a while old Pa Pitt slips in a picture taken with a cheap phone. This is one of them; he mentions it to point out that, within their limitations (this one demands bright light for acceptably sharp pictures), even cheap phone cameras can produce good pictures. The camera you have with you is always better than the one in the camera bag at home.
Seen down Liberty Avenue from the entrance to Point State Park.