Lost Washington: the Republic Theatre

Republic TheatreAccording to the Cinema Treasures site, the Republic Theatre opened on 30th May 1921. It was located a block west of the Lincoln Theatre, between 13th and 14th Streets, NW. It was located in the heart of the U Street African-American shopping district and was listed in the Film Daily Yearbooks as a “Negro” theatre.

Republic Theatre Robin Hood ca. 1948The theatre was designed by architect Phillip M. Julien and was a single screen venue. The exterior was given a slightly Spanish look with a Spanish tile roof topping the facade. Inside the auditorium, which originally seated 1,304, the seating was arranged in a stadium plan with no overhanging balcony, but there was a loge level half-way back. A Moller two Manual organ was installed in 1924.

The Republic was closed in 1976 and was later demolished to make way for the new Metro system.

Remains of the RepublicIf you walk by the site there is still a trace of the original building for the keen observer. An alley now cuts through the western most portion of the site, and the left wall of the alley is part of the former structure. You can still see a sliver of the building along the sidewalk.

(Historic images courtesy Smithsonian Institution)


One Response to “Lost Washington: the Republic Theatre”

  1. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to
    drive the message home a little bit, but other than that,
    this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

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