This handsome Lombard Romanesque church building is The Steeples Project’s biggest challenge – and greatest opportunity! Our vision continues to be to convert this building into a well-equipped theater for dramatic arts.

Saint Columba was always Cambria City's English-speaking parish. Founded by Irish immigrants in 1882, parish families originally built a combination church and school that survived the 1889 Johnstown Flood and still stands today at Chestnut Street and Tenth Avenue. Our Columba was built between 1913 and 1915.

The building was designed by architect John T. Comès of Pittsburgh, a prolific liturgical architect of the early 20th century, who created designs for more than 40 churches, including cathedrals in Wheeling, WV; Toledo, OH; and Salt Lake City, UT. Sculptor Charles Simon created the statuary and a variety of Celtic elements as decorative touches. And Comès brought in a frequent collaborator, liturgical artist Felix Lieftuchter, who painted a large oil-on-canvas mural on the apse wall titled "Christ and the Angels." The lower-left corner of the mural features a silhouette of a steel mill, an industrialist and struggling immigrant workers. Columba's stained glass features saints of the Church – including several Celtic figures – and was produced using a French technique known as "grisaille" (grayness), where shades of black and gray create depth in the images.

In 2017, The Steeples Project commissioned a $40,000 feasibility study of the theater concept, using a 10-person consulting team that included three architects, a structural engineer, three theater-design professionals, two theater-marketing specialists and an economic development specialist. They concluded that the concept is feasible and capable of generating annual economic impact of $2.7 million in support of 52 jobs! The proposed 300-seat theater would be the venue for a professionally produced, locally inspired historical drama; a home-stage for local theater companies, enabling them to stage other productions year-round; and a center for other performing arts. The feasibility study estimated a total project cost of $3 million and has provided the basis for business and fund-raising plans.

To read the Columba Theatre Project Feasibility Study Report, click here.

Visit the IOT for more information.