From the 1930s through the 1950s, at the height of Pittsburgh's jazz era, the sights and sounds of the New Granada Theater were in full swing. Big band legends Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Lena Horne kept the music hot and the nightlife sizzling at the Centre Avenue theater and ballroom. Pittsburgh natives Billy Eckstine, George Benson and Stanley Turrentine were crowd favorites.
Between 1927 and 1928, Black union workers known as the Colored Knights of Pythias built the fraternal lodge named the Pythian Temple. By 1937, the original Granada Theater relocated 2 blocks on Centre Avenue to the Pythian Temple that was renamed the New Granada Theater. Louis A.S. Bellinger, a noted African-American architect, designed the building that later included a skating rink. In the 1950s, as jazz faded and urban renewal and redevelopment led to the demolition of the Lower Hill, the grandeur of the Granada Theater fell into disrepair and finally closed in the 1970s.
The Hill District Community Development Corporation has stabilized the structure and is planning to restore the venue as a multi-purpose facility.