Syria Mosque

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]

Located at 4400 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.

The Medinah Temple in Chicago (constructed one year after this building by the same firm) is a similar building still in existence (though now converted to retail space).

Concert events

Among the concert events:

Political events

Among the political events:

Birthplace of network television

On January 11, 1949, from 8:30 pm to 11 pm 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.[17] 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.[18]


Despite community efforts to have the building designated a historic landmark, the Syria Mosque was torn down on August 27, 1991.[19] The site serves as a parking lot for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Plans were announced that University of Pittsburgh would acquire it from the medical center in 2016.[20]


  1. "Syria Mosque". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  2. "Syria Mosque Lost". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  3. Internet Archive, Walter C. Kidney, Dressed for the Occasion: On Eclecticism, Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation, accessdate 2008-07-25
  4. "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  5. Kwiotek, Vince. "Edward J. Shourek Photograph Collection Finding Aid". Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  6. ""Syria Mosque - Pittsburgh Music History"". Retrieved 21 Nov 2019.
  7. Jay Warner, On This Day in Black Music History (Hal Leonard Corporation, 2006):125.
  8. "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  9. "Bruce Springsteen". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  10. "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  11. "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 14, 1985 · Page 31". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  12. edditude09 (24 May 2011). "The Bangles Live in Pittsburgh MTV 1986 PAL version Part 1 of 5". Retrieved 22 March 2018 via YouTube.
  13. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-02. Retrieved 2013-03-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. Dressler, C. W. (November 3, 1944). "People Cannot Take Chance, Truman Says". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-01-29.
  16. "The Pittsburgh Press - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  17. " - Registered at". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  18. "Eyewitness: 1949 / TV makes Pittsburgh 'A New Promise'". 2010-05-16. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  19. "Historic Pittsburgh 1991". Retrieved 22 March 2018.
  20. Schackner, Bill (February 24, 2016). "Pitt to buy former Syria Mosque property from UPMC for $10 million". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved March 5, 2016.

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