Pieces of the Past: Columbia Theatre

September 27, 2023

For kids growing up in Warren back in the 40s and before, Saturdays meant serials at Columbia Theatre. By the time I was old enough to pay attention the Columbia Theatre in Warren was nothing more than a sign.

By the time I was in school, the Knights of Columbus had moved in. The fraternity managed to preserve the building somewhat for several decades.

When movies were king, most theatres were owned by the movie producers. The last Warner Brothers theatre built by the Warners themselves is in Erie. The Warner has been preserved and now is a state of the art facility.

In Warren, in its final years as a theatre, the Columbia was owned by Warner Brothers. Saturdays, in the late 30s through the war years, kids flocked to the Columbia for an entire morning of exciting serials like Flash Gordon and many others. Located at 219 2nd Avenue, the theatre was built as Warren’s Vaudeville venue. Later movies arrived.

The Columbia disappeared when Northwest expanded eastward back toward Market Street. Today 219 2nd Ave has been carefully built to look similar to the block of the late 1800s. The huge Columbia sign is gone. I have often wished that I could’ve seen a movie there.

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