BY: EVAN SANTOS
What comes to mind when you think of a Playhouse? Many might think of a Little Tikes children’s playhouse setup. For the older generation, they might mention the Saturday morning CBS show, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, which came from the 1985 film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure.
Does anyone remember seeing that at the Strand in 1985? The truth of the matter is Herman’s Playhouse was the name that graced the Kutztown Strand for 15 years, from 1912 to 1927. While it was built with movies in mind, it was used for… a lot. The Playhouse was a meeting place for the town and visitors. The cigar stand and pool parlor in the basement were added amenities.
Through old newspapers from the first decade of its existence, it has been discovered that the building was used for a lot more than just movies. Here is an excerpt from a 1916 edition of the Morning Call out of Allentown.
The article pictured to the left talks about the reunion of two alumni classes from Keystone State Normal School. The building also hosted lectures, commencement ceremonies, speakers, and benefit showings.
Still, as mentioned, the building was built with movies at the forefront of Mr. Herman’s mind. At the turn of the century, movies began to become the next big thing. Kutztown didn’t have just one, but three places in town that showed movies, Herman’s Playhouse (which started as a Movie House on West Main Street in his father’s arcade), the Kutztown Auditorium, and the Music Hall. Only one stood the test of time, and that is why we write about it today