Bellevue Theater

4028 MacArthur Avenue,
Richmond, VA 23227

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Bellevue Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened September 1937 and closed in 1963. Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine lived nearby when they were children and attended this theater during the World War II years.

The Bellevue Theater is now used by the Shriners organization for meetings and dinners and is known as the Samis Grotto Temple.

Contributed by Jack Huber

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 24, 2005 at 2:43 am

The Bellevue Theater opened in September 1937 with the movie “Mountain Music” starring Martha Raye. The original seating capacity was given as 651.

It closed in 1963 and was purchased by the Samis Grotto Shrine in February 1966, currently known as the Samis Grotto Temple.

jhuber
jhuber on June 13, 2005 at 3:17 am

For a picture of the Bellevue Theater go to View link

The picture was taken shortly after it opened in 1937.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 5, 2006 at 4:48 am

The architect of the Bellevue was Henry Carl Messerschmidt, who also designed the Lee Theater, now called the Grace Street Theater.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 24, 2007 at 9:17 am

The function should be restaurant, unless the theater is at 4028:

Zorbas Pizza – 4026 Macarthur Ave Richmond VA 23227 – (804) 264-5370

Samis Grotto
4028 Macarthur Avenue, Richmond, VA 23227

aarfeld
aarfeld on September 4, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Some photos of the theater today, including interior photos, may be viewed at this site: http://retrorichmond.com/?p=55

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 20, 2012 at 5:04 am

The Bellvue was built in 1932, had a balcony, marble foyer and deco-pattenered borders.

The Lyric Theater had the Old Dominion Barn Dance a popular country music, “Grand Old Opry” type radio show in the 1940’s and 1950’s, till the Lyric was torn down. The Bellvue had the NEW Doninion Barn Dance hosted by WRVA from 1957 to the late 1960’s. The show had Johnny Cash, June Carter, Hank Williams and a young beardless Willie Nelson as guests.

RVA Studios now has a recording studio in the theater and along with Samis would like to restore the theater.

Anyone have photos, old and new, inside and out and more info?

DJA

Chief Bob Jensen
Manteno, Illinois

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on April 21, 2012 at 2:34 am

Go to the Richmond Public Library and ask for the movie theatre file. It is full of pictures and has a great picture of the Bellvue auditorium and stage curtains.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 16, 2013 at 2:03 am

I wish I had cited the source for the claim in my comment of May 5, 2006, that Henry Carl Messerschmidt was the architect of the Bellevue Theatre. I’d like to double check it, but I can’t find it now. Instead, I’ve found that the 1937 permit for the Bellevue Theatre building lists A. O. Budina as the architect.

TivFan
TivFan on February 16, 2013 at 6:08 am

Yo, Joe: The Aug. 5, 2009 comment has a link to the North Richmond News, which states that HCM “designed” the theatre and that it was built in 1932.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm

If the theater was originally built in 1932, the 1937 project by Budina must have been alterations of some sort. My problem is that I made the comment identifying Messerschmidt as the architect in 2006, and I can’t find anything on the Internet that’s dated earlier and declares Messeschmidt to be the architect. That means the other sites posting more recently could have been using my 2006 comment as their source.

The other problem is that my new source, saying that Budina was the architect, is this document from Virginia Heritage, which has abstracts of building permit records for dozens of theater projects in Richmond, and the only record it gives for the Bellevue is the one from 1937. True, the list might not be exhaustive, but I’d be more comfortable if it had a 1932 permit for the Bellevue listed.

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