Syria Mosque was a 3,700-seat  performance venue located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Constructed in 1911 and dedicated on October 26, 1916, the building was originally built as a "mystical" shrine for the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (the Shriners) and designed by Huehl, Schmidt & Holmes architectural firm of Chicago. It was recognized as one of the best examples of "exotic revival architecture".
Located at 4223 Bigelow Boulevard, it held numerous events over the years, mainly highlighted by concerts of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and numerous internationally recognized music performers, as well as political rallies and speeches. Despite community efforts to have Syria Mosque designated a historic landmark, the building was demolished August 27, 1991.
- February 28, 1920: Enrico Caruso performs just 18 months before his death.
- October 5, 1924: John Philip Sousa
- January 28, 1944: Symphony No. 1 by Leonard Bernstein had its premiere at the center.
- January 9, 1953: World Premiere of Villa-Lobos' Piano Concerto no. 4 with Bernardo Segall and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra conducted by Heitor Villa-Lobos.
- April 28, 1955: Horace Heidt performs at Syria Mosque and MC's a talent competition, all for charity.
- Buddy Holly (four times in 1957-1958)
- Sam Cooke
- Dionne Warwick and Solomon Burke in 1963.
- Bob Dylan in 1966 and again in 1990
- The Who in 1969
- The Band in 1970
- The two-year-old Pittsburgh Ballet Theater opened its first season as a professional organization in 1970.
- Mickey Newbury in 1971
- The Allman Brothers Band in 1971
- Rod Stewart and the Faces July 16, 1971.
- Deep Purple (warm up to Rod Stewart) July 16, 1971
- Carly Simon in 1972
- Pink Floyd in 1971 and 1972
- Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band on October 15, 1972
- The Doobie Brothers on November 15, 1973
- David Bowie in 1974
- The Carpenters in 1974
- ZZ Top in 1974
- The Eagles in 1974
- Jesse Colin Young in 1974
- Genesis in 1974, 1975 and 1976; a recording of the April 13, 1976 show has since been widely bootlegged.
- Frank Zappa on November 6, 1974, on November 17, 1984 and on February 25, 1988 / March 8, 1988
- Van Morrison on May 21, 1974
- Bruce Springsteen on August 9, 1975.
- James Taylor on June 25, 1976
- Kansas on October 30, 1976, in a show that was recorded and later broadcast by 102.5 WDVE-FM
- June 14, 1982: The inaugural Mellon Jazz Festival (among other venues).
- August 4, 1983: Count Basie's final public concert performance.
- Dire Straits in 1985.
- Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble in 1986.
- The Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1986 billed is "The Thunderbirds".
- R.E.M. in 1985 and 1986
- The Bangles in a MTV broadcast concert 1986
- New Order in 1986
- The Cure, Whitesnake and Quiet Riot in 1987
- Jimmy Page in 1988
- The Ramones in 1988
- Jane's Addiction in 1988
- Anthrax, Exodus and Helloween in 1989 (as part of the MTV's Headbangers Ball Tour)
- Winger in 1989
- Jimmy Buffett on December 7, 1989
- Public Enemy, Queen Latifah and Biz Markie on February 1, 1990
- October 24, 1923: British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
- January 2, 1944: Harry S Truman
- November 2, 1944: Harry S Truman, Orson Welles, Gov. Gifford Pinchot and Mrs. Kermit Roosevelt
- November 10, 1947: Making international headlines Henry A. Wallace announces he is a candidate for president.
- June 6, 1950: Ronald Reagan
- October 8, 1952: Richard Nixon addressing a crowd of 3,900.
- October 22, 1952: Harry S Truman
- November 1, 1956: Richard Nixon & Pat Nixon
- October 27, 1958: Dwight D. Eisenhower
- October 10, 1960: John F. Kennedy
- October 24, 1960: Richard Nixon
- November 4, 1966: The last public appearance by longtime mayor, governor and boss David L. Lawrence.
Birthplace of network television
On January 11, 1949, from 8:30pm to 11pm EST, KDKA-TV (then WDTV and part of the DuMont Television Network) began its initial broadcast on its "network" centered in Pittsburgh. The program began with a one-hour local show broadcast from Syria Mosque, then finished with 90 minutes from ABC, CBS, NBC, and DuMont, featuring stars such as Arthur Godfrey, Milton Berle, DuMont host Ted Steele, and many other celebrities. The station also represented a milestone in the television industry, providing the first "network" of a coaxial cable feed that included Pittsburgh and 13 other cities from Boston to St. Louis.
Despite community efforts to have the building designated a historic landmark, the Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991. The site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Syria Mosque.|
- Internet Archive, Walter C. Kidney, Dressed for the Occasion: On Eclecticism, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, accessdate 2008-07-25
- Kwiotek, Vince. "Edward J. Shourek Photograph Collection Finding Aid". Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
- Jay Warner, On This Day in Black Music History (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006):125.
- Dressler, C. W. (November 3, 1944). "People Cannot Take Chance, Truman Says". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
- DuMont History website by Clarke Ingram
- "Eyewitness: 1949 / TV makes Pittsburgh 'A New Promise'". Post-gazette.com. 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- Historic Pittsburgh 1991
- Picture Album
- Pittsburgh Music History -Lost Temple of Music
- Resurrecting the Syria Mosque
- Pittsburgh Post Gazette retrospective