Jason Vrabel is freelance writer based in Pittsburgh.

Defying the Odds

On opening night a century ago, velour drapes accentuated the auditorium doors and Juliet balconies. A newfangled ventilation system filtered smoke from a cigar lounge. And beneath an ornate plaster ceiling, Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce president Marcus Rauh dedicated the Manor Theater before a standing-room-only crowd of nearly 1,500. Bookended by pandemics, the “photoplay” theater …

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