Archive for Reginald Geare

Lost Washington: The Metropolitan

Posted in Lost Washington, Penn Quarter, Theaters with tags , , , on June 4, 2009 by Kent

Metropolitan Theater ca. 1922The Website Cinema Treatures povides the following history of the Metropolitan Theater, which was located on the south side of the 900 block of F Street.

The Metropolitan was built in 1917. It was designed by architect Reginald Geare, who also designed the Lincoln and Knickerbocker Theatres.

Metropolitan Theater ca. 1921The 1400-seat Metropolitan had a three story Georgian Revival facade, with four sets of Doric pilasters below an ornately sculpted pediment. Between four sets of decorative friezes just below the pediment, the theater’s name was incised into the stone in bold lettering.

Around the late 20s, a large marquee replaced the more simple original, somewhat obscuring the arched window over the main entrance. Also, a 60-foot tall vertical sign was also added at this time, with its top support punched right into the sculpture on the pediment. Up until the early 40s, the Metropolitan included live stage entertainment, including a house orchestra, in addition to movies. The theater was also the site of the Washington premiere of “The Jazz Singer” in 1927, the first theater in the capital to show a “talking picture”. A year later, the Metropolitan was acquired by the Warner Brothers chain, which it remained into the 50s.

Metropolitan Theater 1950sThe theater received two massive remodels in 1954 and 1961 in an attempt to entice more movie goers with its attendance falling. Unfortunately, the Metropolitan closed a few years later, and was razed in 1968.

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