Kennedy Theater

326 Kennedy Street NW,
Washington, DC 20011

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Kennedy Theater

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The Kennedy Theater, one of a number of John Eberson-designed Washington movie houses, was opened in 1939 by Warner Bros. and the opening movie was Bette Davis in “Juarez”. It was located on Kennedy Street, near Third Street. The Kennedy closed in 1974 as a theater. It most recently was home to a church.

All but the facade has now been demolished, and the facade now serves as the entrance to a new building.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

rlvjr on July 23, 2005 at 3:05 pm

The KENNEDY functioned for 2 or 3 decades as a church, but now it’s simply boarded-up. In its final days as a theater, back in the 50’s, as the neighborhood sank from bad to waaay worse, the management decided to end their loneliness by playing double features such as HIGH NOON + A PLACE IN THE SUN (then-current big hits) and charging just 50 cents (slightly less than the prevailing price); thus filling the neglected house to capacity.

reubjcks1956 on January 18, 2006 at 8:58 am

hi. my family loved to an area near the kennedy theater in 1959. the area was in the process of full out white flight, but it was not, as rlvjr indicated in hos comments of july 23rd of last year, gone from “bad to waaaaay worse” in the 50s… the comment smacks of-well, need i say more? like many urban centers, the neighborhood did change for the worse by, say, 1969 or so… but i spent many a carefree, SAFE afternoon in the theater, and the surrounding environs…

reuben jackson
washington, dc

kencmcintyre on January 27, 2007 at 3:11 pm

Opened 6/16/39:

Welcomed by the Hon. Melvin C. Hazen, president of the Board of District Commissioners, and D.W. Gabelin, president of the Chillum Heights Citizens' Association, to a thickly populated residential section of northwest Washington, heretofore without its own neighborhood motion picture house, the Warner Brothers' handsome new Kennedy Theater last night threw open its doors to the public.

JackCoursey on February 3, 2008 at 9:33 pm

Here, here, and here are photos from February 2008 of the former Kennedy. Although the façade is in immaculate condition, the interior has been completely gutted and converted into some sort of community/residential centre.

kencmcintyre on June 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm

This is a 1984 short film by John Heyn that shows the Kennedy and other Washington theaters:

pachamama on June 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I graduated from Coolidge High School in 1960. During those school years, the Kennedy was the place to see not only movies, but live performances by the likes of Fats Domino and Little Richard. Those were the days, my friend!

Mendy216 on November 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Worked This Theater as an Usher in 1963 for aprox 1 year under manager Tony Renaldy spelling may not be accruate. $ 0.75 per Hour. Fun Job.

RickR on November 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I used to go to the Kennedy when I was a kid. I remember Tony Rinaldi working the candy stand when they were short handed. Didn’t Tony have a brother who was also a manager?

rlvjr on December 31, 2014 at 3:22 pm

After closing when Kennedy Street went from bad to much worse in the late 60’s and 1970’s, the neighborhood has bounced back strongly. No fear of crime here these days. The Kennedy Theatre facade looked badly wrecked not so long ago, but they’ve restored the facade (see photo). Behind the entrance, any trace of the theatre is gone, but a beautiful senior center resides there now.

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