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Inside The Abandoned Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House

January 6, 2013


(Photos by Zach Patten)

Another set of amazing photos from Zach Patten – who just Thursday sent in a series of new photos from inside the Divine Lorraine.

Today, the subject is the beautiful century-old Philadelphia Metropolitan Opera House, which sits at 858 North Broad street, between Parrish and Poplar streets. Here’s a quick little Wiki-history of the building, if you’re like me and never really knew this place existed:

Built over the course of just a few months in 1908, the Metropolitan Opera House (MOH) was the ninth opera house built by impresario Oscar Hammerstein I. It was initially the home of Hammerstein’s Philadelphia Opera Company, and was originally called the Philadelphia Opera House. Hammerstein sold the house to the Metropolitan Opera of New York City in 1910, when it was renamed. The Met used the MOH through 1920, after which various opera companies used the house through 1934. For over five more decades it remained in constant use in turn as a cinema venue, a ballroom, a sports venue, and a church. The MOH then fell into serious disrepair and was vacated from 1988 until 1995, when it was bought by its current owners and became the Holy Ghost Headquarters Revival Center at the Met. The church has stabilized much of the building and is currently attempting to raise the funds necessary for further historic renovation of the opera house. The MOH has been included in the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.

Zach got to tour the building thanks to the ever-inspired people over at NextCityOrg, so special thanks to them for organizing that!!

And in case you were wondering, here’s an idea of what the place looked like back in its prime…


15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 6, 2013 1:05 pm

    This photographer is AWESOME. I love all these abandon ghost buildings of prosperous philadelphia’s yester-year. Creepy and once again AWESOME. MORE MORE MORE!

    • January 6, 2013 4:03 pm

      Thanks Carolina! I’ve got some new shoots planned over the next few weeks so I’ll keep you posted.

      • Jeff Bradway permalink
        March 5, 2013 9:07 am

        Zach, I’m writing a chapter on the architect of the Opera House (J B McElfatrick & Son) as part of a book on the history of a theatre by the same firm. I would love to include a photo of the interior of the Opera House in my section on their theatres that are still standing. The third photo on this site is perfect; would it be possible to use it in our book? Many thanks. Jeff

  2. Joseph permalink
    January 7, 2013 5:22 pm

    It’s an awesome abandoned building, but it’d make an even awesomer non-abandoned building.

  3. Geraeusch permalink
    August 14, 2013 5:30 pm

    Wasn’t this featured in twelve monkeys?

  4. March 28, 2014 5:37 pm

    Amazing!! Let’s hope it’s full beauty is restored by using the beautiful space xx

  5. September 15, 2014 3:53 pm

    I wrote an academic article about an evolution debate that took place in this building back in 1930. I’m currently doing a blog series based on the article. For details, see

  6. Robert Harper permalink
    June 10, 2016 6:26 am

    I have a photo of the interior following a fire in 1948 plus a couple of programs from when it was an opera house.R

  7. Baron Z permalink
    July 24, 2016 12:37 am

    I believe you have the history wrong, I don’t think it was ever connected with New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, it was a rival company designed to compete.

  8. Donald Muniz permalink
    July 25, 2016 4:03 pm

    Could someone in Philidelphia start something like this? This is what the Opera in Florence did:

  9. Geri Hol'e permalink
    January 10, 2018 11:22 pm

    I played the organ when the MET was a church back in the 1950s. So sad to see the disrepair now. It was there I met my husband, a trumpeter stationed at Dover AFB.


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