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Syria Mosque

The Syria Mosque was a 3,700 seat [1] performance venue located in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA. 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, the birthplace of network television.[5]

Located at 4223 Bigelow Boulevard,[6] over the years it held numerous events, mainly highlighted by concerts of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and numerous internationally recognized music performers, as well as political rallies and speeches.


  • Concert events 1
  • Political Events 2
  • Birthplace of Network Television 3
  • Demolition 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Concert events

Among the concert events:

Political Events

Among the political events:

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.[10] 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.[11]


Despite community efforts to have the building designated a historic landmark, the Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991.[12] and the site is now a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ , Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, accessdate 2008-07-25Dressed for the Occasion: On EclecticismInternet Archive, Walter C. Kidney,
  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. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ DuMont History website by Clarke Ingram
  11. ^ "'"Eyewitness: 1949 / TV makes Pittsburgh 'A New Promise. 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  12. ^ Historic Pittsburgh 1991

External links

  • Picture Album
  • Pittsburgh Music History -Lost Temple of Music
  • Resurrecting the Syria Mosque
  • Pittsburgh Post Gazette retrospective

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