The Colony Theater

The last of Harry M. Crandall’s string of theaters to break grown, construction on the Colony Theater began the week of July 19, 1925. The site chosen was the southwest corner of Georgia Ave. and Farragut Street, NW.

Considering the location, it is interesting that the building was designed as a mixed use structure. In addition to the theater, the building contained six stores on Georgia avenue and 21 apartments of four and five rooms each.Colony Theater

The theater had a seating capacity of 1,400 on one floor. The entrance was on the corner of Georgia avenue and Farragut and was surmounted by a marquee. Exits from the auditorium opened onto Farragut street.

The name of the theater was chosen through a contest, the winner being selected from approximately 40,000 submissions. The contest was conducted over the radio while the Crandall Saturday Nighters were broadcasting their weekly programs through station WRC. The winner received $100 in addition to the honor of naming the theater.

The theater was designed by John J. Zink, a Baltimore architect who specialized in theater design.

Colony Theater ca. 1992, closed. (Courtesy Historical Society of Washington, D.C., # SPL 158.36)

Colony Theater ca. 1992, closed. (Courtesy Historical Society of Washington, D.C., # SPL 158.36)

Completion of the theater and apartments was expected to stimulate real estate values in one of Washington’s newest and fastest growing residential sections in 1925.

Before the project was barely a month old, Crandall sold his string of theaters to the Stanley Company, of Philadelphia, at the end of August, 1925. The theater opened in 1926. Eventually, the Stanley theaters would be sold to Warner Brothers.

Under Warner’s management in the 1940s and 1950s, the Colony was run as a third run house, playing films one week after Warner’s Kennedy and Sheridan theaters had run the film at a slightly higher price.

The Colony has been closed for many years now, but the building is still there as are the Colony Apartments which now caters to seniors.  Colony Apartments


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