F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts

It was in 1938 that the Comerford movie chain chose this site on Public Square on which to erect a movie house as a monument to founder Michael E. Comerford. The grandest of flagship cinemas was planned, replacing a bus terminal, a printing company, a stonecutter and a drug store. The result was an advanced art deco dream ... lavish interior appointments, five lobbies, oval rose-colored mirrors, tall fluted columns, doors and walls in copper tints with shades of metallic blue. All of this was topped off by the "Giant Lavaliere," the spectacular chandelier that still graces the lobby of the Kirby Center today. After a long history which nearly ended in the theatre's demolition, a group of local residents banded together and was successful in having the building added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. Finally, in 1985, Albert Boscov, the owner of one of the nation's largest, privately owned department store chains, came to the financial rescue. A few years earlier he had purchased one of Wilkes-Barre's last remaining downtown department stores (Fowler, Dick and Walker - The Boston Store), which became his first multi-storied store and one of the most profitable in the Boscov's chain for many years. Mr. Boscov wanted a way to say "Thank you" to the people of Wilkes-Barre, and the abandoned Paramount was just the right way. In 1985, Boscov began to meet with local business and civic leaders to put together a drive to acquire the property and raise the necessary $4,300,000 to open the doors once again to the public.

Address: 71 Public Square
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 18701
Phone: (570) 823-4599
Website: http://www.kirbycenter.org/