The Church at Georgia and Quebec Used To Be a Theater!


Thanks a million to Mr. T in DC for sending the info. From Shorpy:

Washington Post, Jun 1, 1919

Harry M. Crandall Constructs the York in Petworth

The York Theater, eighth link in the chain of photoplay houses operated in the Capital by Harry M. Crandall, is now in course of construction on Georgia avenue, occupying the entire area between Princeton and Quebec streets. The newest of the Crandall theaters will have a seating capacity of 1,000 on one floor, no provision having been made for a balcony. The total floor area will be 10,000 square feet.
Entrance on Georgia Avenue

Entrance to the York will be from Georgia avenue into a foyer fifty feet long and twenty feet wide, with a ceiling height of twenty-five feet. The lobby walls will be of marble with inset, self-lighted poster panes. Lighting will be of the indirect, self-diffusing type.

The exterior of the theater will be golden brown brick laid in white mortar, with cornice, coping and clerestory walls trimmed in gold.
Silk Canopy Inside

The entrance will be surmounted by a marquee of wrought iron, copper and Tiffany glass, to harmonize with the color treatment of the building, which will extend to the curb line and be fitted with brilliant flood lights, bathing the entire front of the structure in bright light.

The decorative scheme utilized throughout the interior will be in silver, black and gold. One interior feature deserving mention is the treatment of the proscenium, which will be built in three arches under a silk canopy extending over the audience beyond the orchestra platform. The screen and side curtains, as well as the overhanging canopy, will be of gold silk, further beautified by concealed colored lighting making possible many extraordinary effects. There will also be elaborate balloon fixtures hanging from the ceiling.

Of special interests will be the ventilating and heating system specially designed for the theater. The unique feature of the new system will be that heat will be blown in from the ceiling. The same system will serve to introduce cooled air during hot weather and is capably of completely changing the atmosphere of the theater every thirty seconds.

Crandall’s York Theater was designed by, and is built under the personal supervision of Reginald E. Geare, who also planned and supervised construction of Crandall’s Metropolitan and Knickerbocker theaters.

The York will open about October 15, and will be devoted to exclusive showings of photoplays of the highest grade. The completion of the York will give Mr. Crandall three houses of the first rank in the northwest residential portion of Washington, the Knickerbocker and the Savoy being the other two.

See what the theater looked like in 1920 here.

15 Comment

  • Boarding up and painting over the windows like that was an atrocious idea.

  • Even it they did it during tougher times of the 60s and 70s, they really need to update and take those boards down.

  • Wow, that looks awesome- wish it was a theater now. What a tacky eyesore it is today.

  • Vonstallin

    Didnt see the date…thought it was about to be turned into a theater again…
    that would be cool…

  • It sounds like it must have been beautiful back in the day. I wonder if any of the original interior details have been preserved underneath dropped ceilings, layers of paint, paneling, etc. that was added later. FYI, Crandall’s Savoy Theater was in Columbia Heights, on the site of the current Upper Cardoza Health Center. Nothing remains of that one, sadly.

  • Wow!!! That 1920’s picture shows Georgia Avenue in a way that I have never seen it before. I knew it use to be a theater years ago but wow.

  • Wow! That 1920’s picture is amazing! It used to be so much nicer looking than it is now.

  • in about 1994 we threw a “rave” there…..good times. i lived at 14th and RI and couldnt believe where i was. i thought I had gone from the hood to the uhber hood.

    and this is 10 years PRIOR to whole foods at 14th and P

    we called it the “raveteria” because it linoleum floors

  • Thanks to this post, I wasted most of my day on amazing site.

  • Freaky deaky churchy poohs need advice on color schemes.

  • Tiffany windows on GA Ave? Flabbergasting! What a great post. We can’t complain about lack of movie theaters because the Uptown is just a bus ride away; and Gallery Place just a few stops south. But this is much more dramatic!

  • is one of my favorite websites. Several times a week there are pictures of “old DC” posted there; a handful of weeks ago there were pictures of what is now the whole Target complex. A few weeks before that there were circa early-1900s pictures of what is now Pulp and the Garden District down on 14th Street.

  • this building has so much potential, wish it went back to its origional use. that would be one great way to make petworth a destination.

  • wow amazing… bring back the theater! to georgia and quebec!

  • The theater must have predated “talkies.” That’s cool!

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