Capitol Center

123 Summers Street,
Charleston, WV 25301

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Capitol Center

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built circa 1912, the Plaza Theatre presented 10-20-30 cent vaudeville and stage plays. Destroyed by fire around 1922, it was extensively redesigned and rebuilt with movies in mind. For many years, as the Capitol Theatre, it was noted for its exceptional sound and picture (the screen was carefully curved to counteract distortion). The last major film to play the Capitol Theatre was the premiere of “Star Wars”.

The theater closed a few years later, in the mid-1970’s. A private group began restoration in the 1980’s with the intent of opening the theater as a performing arts center, but capitalization was insufficient. The building was donated as a tax loss to West Virginia State University, which now calls it the Capitol Center.

The only regular performances are the Sunday services of River Ridge Church, which lacks a building of its own.

Contributed by Charlie Cooper

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 19, 2007 at 7:37 am

Here is a June 1950 ad from the Charleston Gazette:

KPKilburn on November 18, 2007 at 6:28 am

I’ll never forget my father taking me to The Capitol Theater for the premier of Star Wars over 30 years ago.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 14, 2008 at 7:25 am

The Capitol Center can be seen in this recent photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985

Plaza Theatre (added 1985 – Building – #85003408)
Also known as Capitol Theater
123 Summers St., Charleston

Historic Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Wiggins,P. Norwood
Architectural Style: Classical Revival
Area of Significance: Architecture, Performing Arts
Period of Significance: 1900-1924
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Commerce/Trade, Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Business, Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture, Work In Progress
Current Sub-function: Theater

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 10, 2009 at 6:44 pm

Here is another 2008 photo.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 19, 2009 at 10:34 am

The year given for this photo is 1979.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 13, 2009 at 11:29 am

An April 2009 photo is here.

Mintish on June 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

Here are my photos of the interior and exterior of the theatre.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on March 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Here are my pictures from August 2011.

adamghost on December 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m looking right at it, and this theater is open for business. The Nutcracker Suite is playing.

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