2908 W. Cary Street,
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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 unalteredin appearance and function. It still shows movies to this day.
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