Discovering the Diamond Theatre on Germantown Avenue

We’ve been spending time in the southern section of Norris Square lately, picking up on a few different development projects either ongoing or in the works. And because we’ve found some coverage-worthy projects in this part of town, we’ve been cruising around the neighborhood, looking for more stuff to write about. Last week, we were on the 2100 block of Germantown Avenue and happened upon a property that’s not actually getting developed at the moment, but still demands some attention. Please take a look, if you will, at 2117 Germantown Ave., the home of a church with a primarily Spanish speaking membership. Look quickly and you can probably figure out why we’re telling you about this property.

Current view

Several architectural details clearly show this to be a former theater. According to Cinema Treasures, the Cohooksink Theatre opened here in 1920, with a seating capacity of 927. Within a couple decades, the building underwent a renovation, resulting in something close to the facade you see today. The place reopened as the Diamond Theatre, and you can still see the outline of an old Diamond Theatre sign today above the marquee. By the time the 1960s rolled along, the cinema’s name changed again, to Teatro Puerto Rico. For a time, they showed only Spanish language movies, but they eventually shifted back to mainstream movies. The building was sitting vacant less than a decade ago, with the church taking over at some point in the last few years.

Back in the 1960s

This location is pretty far north and pretty far west, so we don’t believe we’ll be covering any construction in the immediate area in the near future. Still, as we’ve said several times in the past, we have a fascination with old movie houses that have survived the decades, and really appreciate that this edifice has found a new life as a church. As the congregation took over the property quite recently, we have to think it’ll remain in place for some time, meaning this building is likely to stick around for many years to come.