Break It Down: Byham Theater

When you walk into the Sixth Street entryway of the Byham Theater, Downtown, you will see patches of green and black tile on the walls: These are originals from the early 20th century, says John Mumper, facilities manager at the Byham. The grand theater has plenty of history to go with its 100-plus years; let’s break it down.




photo by chuck beard

 

1904
The year the theater opened — originally as the Gayety, which featured live burlesque and vaudeville comedies. At the time, the theater included many private boxes on the inner walls, where members of high society would sit to watch shows.

Fort Duquesne Boulevard
The location of the theater’s original entrance

The Fulton
The second name of the theater, established in the 1930s. Unlike its earlier days, the theater now focused on film.

March 17, 1936
The date of the infamous St. Patrick’s Day flood, which caused significant damage to the building. The theater reopened after an extensive cleanup effort.

50,000
The number of patrons who in 1941 attended showings of Disney’s “Fantasia” during an eight-week run at the Fulton. 

Men Painted Into Women
The elegant ceiling in the theater area has a painting of topless women with long, flowing hair. You may have heard a story that the figures originally were painted as men, with breasts and long hair added later — but it’s an urban legend, Mumper says.

From flicks to live shows (again)
In 1983, the Fulton became the only movie house Downtown with more than 700 seats. That same year, the venue expanded its offerings by once again hosting concerts.

‘I Will Follow’
Also in 1983, U2 became the first rock band to perform at the Fulton, closing their set with this hit.

$2,295,000
The amount the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust spent in 1988 to purchase the Fulton and begin a decade-long, multi-phase renovation in 1990.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More From The 412

The New King of the Westinghouse Castle

The New King of the Westinghouse Castle

John Graff, president and CEO of the Priory Hospitality Group, plans to turn the century-old structure into hotel and event space.
Market Square to Turn into Magical Wonderland Tonight

Market Square to Turn into Magical Wonderland Tonight

North American debut of the interactive video and sound installation “Congregation” will light up downtown.
New Book Reveals How Moraine State Park Came to Be

New Book Reveals How Moraine State Park Came to Be

A dam was built, a tiny village was relocated and a state highway was rerouted in order to create one of the largest man-made lakes in Pennsylvania.
What Google Autocomplete Tells Us About Pittsburgh (and Cleveland)

What Google Autocomplete Tells Us About Pittsburgh (and Cleveland)

The Google search bar is a fascinating window into how the rest of the world sees our cities.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments