Downtown Theatre

3100 Washington Avenue,
Newport News, VA 23607

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 4 comments

wsasser on November 17, 2016 at 7:18 pm

I just posted a news story in the Daily Press Newspaper showing the Oct. 17, 1910 date. Check it out

wsasser on September 20, 2012 at 5:09 pm

The first theater at this location was The Olympic, it operated from Oct 17, 1910 to Nov. 10, 1932

The James opened on Dec 11, 1932 and closed on Aug 3, 1967

On Aug 4, 1967, the Theater opened as the Downtown. It closed for good on Aug 6, 1980. The Downtown opened as a part of the Gordon chain but at some time, it was sold and became a XXX movie theater.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on April 19, 2012 at 6:33 pm


Downtown Theater


Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 19, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Downtown Newport News, by William A. Fox (Google Books preview), gives a brief history of this house. It was in operation as the Olympic Theatre prior to 1931, when it was taken over by Publix, remodeled, and renamed the James Theatre. Publix operated the house only until 1934, when it was taken over by the local chain Dominion Theatres. At some point it was renamed the Downtown Theatre. In its last days it showed adult movies, and was closed in 1978. The roof of the theater collapsed on January 12, 1983, leading to its demolition.

The caption of this historic photo from the Newport News Public Library says that the Olympic Theatre was built in 1911. I found a period source indicating that the house was in operation by December of that year.

The Library of Virginia’s weblog, Out of the Box, has an interesting item about a performance that took place at the Olympic Theatre in 1912, leading to the arrest of the theater manager and a dance troupe. That younger generation! What was the world coming to?