Byrd Theatre

2908 W. Cary Street,
Richmond, VA 23221

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Byrd Theatre

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The Byrd Theatre, named after William Byrd, the founder of Richmond, is one of Virginia’s finest cinema treasures.

The 1,400-seat theater, the first in Virginia to be equipped with a sound system, opened to great fanfare on December 24, 1928. The first audiences paid 50 cents for evening shows and 25 cents for matinees. Children were admitted for only 10 cents.

The Byrd’s creators spared no expense in creating the theater. Among its many features: mythically-inspired murals, imported Greek and Italian marble, spectacular crystal chandeliers, hand-sewn velvet drapes, fountains, a central vacuum system, and its own Wurlitzer (which is still in use and plays every Saturday night).

Another interesting apsect of the Byrd Theatre is that it contains a natural underground spring in its basement. Water can be pumped from this spring for use by the building’s air conditioning system.

In 1978, the theater was designated a state landmark. And the following year, it was named a National Historic Landmark.

What may be the most remarkable thing about the Byrd Theatre is that the theater has somehow survived the past seventy years largely unaltered—in appearance and function. It still shows movies to this day.

Contributed by Gary Cowardin (Byrd Engineer), Vmad

Recent comments (view all 71 comments)

ByrdPrints
ByrdPrints on October 6, 2010 at 10:50 am

Here’s a link to a Fundraiser I started in conjunction with the Byrd Theatre Foundation.
We’re selling Fine Art Prints of the painting “Byrd Theatre” by Daniel Pritchett to help raise
funds to help Save the Byrd Theatre.
Prints start at only $49…. Please check it out and help us keep this Cinema Treasure operational!

http://www.ByrdPrints.com

ghamilton
ghamilton on February 16, 2011 at 2:25 pm

COME ON PEOPLE!!! GO TO THE BYRD OR LOOSE THE BYRD.I am sometimes just sad how little support this true national treasure gets. I was telling some foilks in Lynchburg today about the Byrd.Said they’s have to go soon.Didn’t know it existed anymore.

ByrdPrints
ByrdPrints on July 8, 2011 at 11:40 am

The Byrd Theatre Prints are available at www.DPFINEARTS.com

Thank you for your support!

byrdone
byrdone on July 11, 2011 at 6:30 am

The AC has been out for 5 days now, the problems have now been located and repairs are underway. With a little luck it’ll be up and running by Wednesday, maybe sooner. This is just a stop gap repair to get the system thru the summer. The 45 year old system will need to be replaced by next summer to the tune of somewhere between $70,000 and $150,000 depending on a lot of variables.

byrdone
byrdone on July 13, 2011 at 3:48 am

The AC is now running again, but funds will still be needed for the replacement over the winter.

robert17070
robert17070 on September 3, 2011 at 8:03 am

Spoke with a few WW II vetrans, about 10 years ago and they chatted about with Gone with the Wind (1939) and other classics where you showed up to see the first show and had to wait till the second show. They said prior and during WW II, the move closed for the summer too hot and no AC. I moved away form Richmond but have gone back to hear the organ/

byrdone
byrdone on November 2, 2011 at 9:02 am

By the early ‘30s EVERY cinema in Richmond had AC, The Mosque (now Landmark) didn’t get AC till the late 60s. The Byrd had AC from the first day.
For it’s worth, GWTW did not open at the Byrd, being a MGM pic it open at the Loews which also had had AC from the first day in 1928.

cmastersin
cmastersin on November 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The conversion to digital has been completed.

cmastersin
cmastersin on March 19, 2013 at 8:04 pm

I have recently added some digital photos of the Byrd interior that shows the stunning interior after EIGHTY FIVE YEARS! Unrestored and still beautiful! Enjoy

tcaldwell
tcaldwell on October 10, 2013 at 6:18 am

cmastersin, thanks for the great pictures of this great theater. I enjoyed talking to you after the Cameron Carpenter concert, and thanks for mentioning your pictures. You asked about The Senator. Here is a link from today’s Baltimore Sun. http://galleries.baltimoresun.com/gallery/bal-artslife-senator-pg

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