650 Pennsylvania Avenue,
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Once a truly fabulous Art Deco palace on Capitol Hill, the John Eberson-designed Penn, which opened in 1935, became an exploitation theater in the 1970’s. The Penn originally was one of two sister theaters, but the other theater, the Avenue Grand, which was right across the street, burned down in 1970.
The Penn’s claim to fame is that it was the theater showing Mohammad: Messenger of God, the film which angered the Hunnafi Muslims so much they took the DC City Council hostage and shot then city councilman Marion Barry.
During the mid-80’s, the surrounding area began to be revitalized and the Penn was converted into condos. Fortunately, but strangely, the theater’s facade was saved and became the entrance to the condo buildingretaining its Deco past.
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