The Aurora Theater

2132 Germantown Avenue


Early History

The Aurora Theater opened in 1910 at 2132 Germantown Avenue. The theater was a part of the Viola Theater Company, along with the Regis Theater located at 1526 W. Cumberland Street. This company was owned by Mary and David Moliver. 

The theater held evening showings with live music accompanying the pictures. The Aurora Theater also held charitable events. In December of 1947, the theater co-hosted an event with the 18th Police District Civic and Protective Association to entertain 3000 children. That same week, the theater also hosted the Philadelphia Diabetic Society who distributed gifts to diabetic patients at the Philadelphia Diabetic Hospital. 

By the 1950s, the rise of televisions caused the Viola Theater Co. to lose revenue and its owners declared bankruptcy in February of 1951. The Aurora Theater shut down shortly after.

The Union Hall

In the decade following the closure of the Aurora Theater, the building at 2132 Germantown Avenue became a union hall for Philadelphia’s Industrial Workers Union, Teamsters Local 837. 

Throughout the 60s, the union hall held many meetings and events. In October of 1968, former Governor of California Pat Brown visited the union hall to show support for presidential candidate Hubert Humphrey. He recalled how he had a successful uphill election against Richard Nixon in California to give hope that Humphrey could win against Nixon as well. The presentation was in front of 100 voting attendees.

In September 1969, the president of Teamsters Local 837 at the time, George Butcher, received an award for his outstanding contributions to the Black community. This ceremony also honored Philadelphia’s former police inspector Henry Mercer and former chief of county detectives Francis Lederer. 

Between 1969 and 1971, the Teamsters Local 837 relocated its union hall. By 1971, it was located on 4817 N Broad Street, and it has since relocated to 12227 Townsend Road. 

The hall was replaced with the Christ Memorial Baptist Church by the beginning of 1972, and the church stands today.

Works Cited

“Bankruptcy Laid to TV.” February 1, 1951 (page 21 of 42). (1951, Feb 01). The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969) Retrieved from

“Three Fetes at Theaters.” December 22, 1947 (page 3 of 42). (1947, Dec 22). The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969) Retrieved from

“Humphrey Win Predicted by Pat Brown.” October 27, 1968 (page 16 of 468). (1968, Oct 27). The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969) Retrieved from 

“Rev. Abernathy to Visit Phila.” September 7, 1969 (page 48 of 362). (1969, Sep 07). The Philadelphia Inquirer Public Ledger (1934-1969) Retrieved from