Lost Washington: Loew’s Palace Theater

loews-palace-ca-1920Opened on November 4, 1918, the Loew’s Palace Theater was Washington’s first movie palace and the site of numerous early premieres. Loew’s was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb as a 2423 seat single screen theater and was located at 1306 F Street, NW.

In addition to motion pictures, stage shows began in 1926 and continued until 1932. loews-palace-lobby-ca-1920The Loew’s Palace Theater was also reportedly the first DC movie house with air conditioning which was installed in 1926.

As the theater began to decline, Loew’s spent $225,000 to renovate the theater in 1964 which changed the paint, walls, and carpeting at which time orchestra and balcony wall boxes were also removed.

loews-palace-interiorIn 1968, a robbery occurred in which two people were shot and wounded and a year later Loew’s put the old movie palace up for sale.

The Loew’s Palace was finally closed for good in 1978, and was torn down in late-1979. (Source of history, Cinema Treasures)loews-palace-theater


18 Responses to “Lost Washington: Loew’s Palace Theater”

  1. […] When Going to a Show Was an Experience With Memorial Day upon us, one thing that many folks will do is head to the movies. We all go for the show, but it used to be an experience, from the lights outside to the interior decorations. Here is the marquee for the Loew’s Theater taken in 1924. To see more of the building, you can go to this earlier post. […]

  2. I was on a field trip at school when i saw a play at the Loews palace at 1306 F Street, it was nice then in the mid 1970s, then it close in april 1978 with an all night show, auditorium fell in June 1978, lobby remained along with the commercial building at the right, last occupied by a Dash’s, I think it was a clothing store, until both were razed in October 1980.

  3. I remember getting on the J-3 bus from my home near Coolidge HS, and going downtown to Lowe’s. I saw Kool & the Gang there, also Bohannon and Betty Davis. This was ’73-’74. Great memories!

  4. Leows was always one my favorite theaters followed by RKO Keiths. We always spent like 5 minutes basking in the brilliant light assortment on the marquee. Once inside, you left the real world and traveled to different worlds, the place was so big with many different sections. The youngins today will never experience these good old fashion movie theaters where the movie didnt always matter but the adventure did!

  5. Wow, I often think of Loew’s where I enjoyed shows of the Dramatics, Detroit Emeralds and others great acts of the 70’s. As a young teenager, I would collect off my newspaper route just enough money to catch the bus and attend the shows I wanted to see. Great times!

  6. Kool! I caught the tail end of stage acts at local theaters. My grandad took me to magical acts and my moms took me to the Howard theater. I saw a few comedy routines then it went all movie. I also had a paper route and later became a jumper for the Evening Star. Delivering papers 30 days a month to earn two days of food and movies. It was worth it!

  7. TerrySmith Says:

    Very nice vintage photos and history.

  8. Steve Soroka Says:

    I went here and the Loew’s Embassy as a young boy. I was heart broken when they closed it. My grandfather was a professional musician who played in the National Symphony. He had the privilege to perform there.

  9. Quicksilver Messenger Service put on a good show there on March 15, 1971 if my memory serves. Does anyone else recall that show?

  10. I went to my very first concert at the Loew’s Palace. I saw “The Sylvers”. I about 13 years old. Oh I had a gret time!

  11. Tim Humphreys Says:

    My grandfather was a projectionist at “The Palace”, as he always called it, for most of his working life until he was forced to retire when it closed. He was 73 years young. He invited me & my brother one day to come hang out in the booth with him & watch how movies were shown. We had to climb an iron ladder in the last row & crawl thru a small door to get in the booth. Amazing.

  12. Vanessa Brown Says:

    I was really sad when the Palace closed. Just beginning my singing career, I was fortunate to perform as background vocalist for Walter Jackson. He was an awesome performer.

  13. Vanessa Brown Says:

    The final performance at the Loew’s in 1978 featured several R&B groups including Sir Walter Jackson.

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  17. Dorothy Lukinic Says:

    My great aunt, Florence May Flack, performed at Loew’s Theater in the 1930’s as a trapese artist. She performed with her husband Charles (don’t know his last name) and possibly his brother. If anyone has any information about this, please let me know. Thanks.

  18. Ruth Galer Says:

    My father was the doorman of this theatre before he joined the Navy in 1942 through 1943. What a magical place for a 17-year-old kid to work! So much better than the Pizza Hut where I got a job at the same age!

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