Syria Mosque

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Syria Mosque was a 3,700-seat [1] performance venue located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Constructed in 1911 and dedicated on October 26, 1916,[2] 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.[3] It was recognized as one of the best examples of "exotic revival architecture".[4]

Photo of Syria Mosque taken ca 1913-1920 by Edward J. Shourek. The Syria Mosque was the birthplace of network television.[5]

Located at 4223 Bigelow Boulevard,[6] 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.

Concert events[edit]

Among the concert events:

Political events[edit]

Among the political events:

Birthplace of network television[edit]

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.[19] 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.[20]


Despite community efforts to have the building designated a historic landmark, the Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991.[21] The site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


  1. ^
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  3. ^ Internet Archive, Walter C. Kidney, Dressed for the Occasion: On Eclecticism, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, accessdate 2008-07-25
  4. ^
  5. ^ Kwiotek, Vince. "Edward J. Shourek Photograph Collection Finding Aid". Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jay Warner, On This Day in Black Music History (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006):125.
  8. ^,387119
  9. ^,387119
  10. ^,387119
  11. ^,387119
  12. ^,387119
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  16. ^
  17. ^ Dressler, C. W. (November 3, 1944). "People Cannot Take Chance, Truman Says". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-29. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ DuMont History website by Clarke Ingram
  20. ^ "Eyewitness: 1949 / TV makes Pittsburgh 'A New Promise'". 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  21. ^ Historic Pittsburgh 1991

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°26′44″N 79°57′19″W / 40.445477°N 79.955149°W / 40.445477; -79.955149