Takoma Theatre

6833 4th Street NW,
Washington, DC 20012

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Takoma Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Takoma Theatre opened on July 2, 1923 with Thomas Meighan in “The Ne'er Do Well”, with 724 seats. It was designed by John Jacob Zink, who also designed the Uptown Theatre in Washington, the Commodore Theatre in Portsmouth, Virginia, and the Senator Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland among other theatres. It is located at the corner of 4th Street and Butternut Street in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC. In 1935 it was taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

The theatre flourished for many years but was eventually driven out of business by the growth of multiplex theatres and closed as a movie theatre in 1980. In 1983, the theatre was purchased and turned into a venue for live performances. However, during the 1990’s, the Takoma Theatre stood largely dark, though the comedian Chris Rock did film one of his specials at the theatre.

In early-2002, community members formed the Takoma Theatre Arts Project, with the goal of reopening the theatre. The theatre is ‘For Sale’, and is endangered.

Contributed by Liz Harler

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 18, 2007 at 5:29 pm

The photo you posted is private.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 18, 2007 at 5:43 pm

I think that photo went to the same place as the “official website” link above went to. :) This website has a photo and other information about the Takoma Theater.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on October 14, 2007 at 12:28 pm

A Midmer-Losh theater organ was installed in the Takoma Theater in 1923.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 19, 2008 at 8:02 pm

This is a December 2007 photo. Status should be closed.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 20, 2008 at 7:56 pm

Here is a Washington Post article from 1979.

JackCoursey on March 10, 2008 at 6:53 pm

Here and here are February 2008 photos of the Takoma Theatre.

kencmcintyre on November 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

The Washington Post reported on January 30, 1971 that RKO-Stanley Warner Theaters sold the Takoma Theater building to William Wolowitz for a price in excess of $100,000.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 14, 2009 at 9:10 am

This is another photo of the Takoma, probably from 2007.

Giles on September 3, 2009 at 11:02 am

here’s a link to the Takoma Theatre Conservatory – they are hoping to reopen the theatre for the arts:

“Once again community members are seeking to light-up the theatre. Unlike prior efforts, the Takoma Theatre Conservancy is seeking to acquire the theatre from the owner [Note: The Conservancy is not associated with its current operation or leasing.] The Conservancy will seek to renovate the theatre and revitalize it as a community resource — a community cultural arts and education center â€" a place once again for community events and activities, and a resource to help rejuve­nate the adjacent commercial area. The Conservancy will engage professional management and host a wide array of theatrical, film and musical programs; support a variety of theater and arts groups and local performers; provide classes for people of all ages, especially youth who lack access to arts in their schools; and offer vocational training and internships for high school students and young adults. (see Goals)

With the renaissance of DC and its neighborhoods, increased community and government support for the arts and education, and performer and audience demand (more …), the feasibility of these goals appears stronger than at anytime in the last thirty years. The Conservancy has received several planning grants to support these goals, most recently and notably a $100,000 grant from the DC City Council (News), and contributions from community organizations, and major donors.

The Theatre has always been ‘family’ to the Takoma community. It was opened in 1924 by a community group called the Takoma Theater Corp., led by the then Mayor of Takoma Park, MD. They brought first-run feature films to one of Washington’s first suburbs. Two blocks from the old Takoma railroad station, it became one of the major locations for community and family activities, including the starting point for the annual Takoma Fourth of July parade, and weekly yo-yo contests.

The once enormous appeal and attractivenss of local neighborhood theatres and downtown movie palaces were drained in the decades following 1950 by new suburban malls, multiplex theatres, and television. The Takoma and other DC theatres, such as the Strand, Howard, Colony, Congress and MacArthur, became dark, and many were converted to other retail uses (more …)

Subsequent efforts from the mid-1980’s to 2004 achieved some success in once again lighting-up the theatre and the adjacent commercial corridor — just two blocks from the Takoma Metro station. The non-profit community group, the Takoma Theatre Arts Project, ably demonstrated the promise of the theatre as a performing arts venue. (more …)

Community efforts to save the theatre from closure led to the first Takoma Park Folk Festival in 1978. Today this highly-popular event is still run by an all-volunteer community committee and showcases local performers — the legacy of its founder, activist Sammie Abbot (Mayor Takoma Park, 1980-1985).

“I remember Sammie calling several of us over to his house for a meeting… . He said, ‘We’ve got to save the Takoma Theatre, and here’s how we’re going to do it.’ ” [2]

Thirty years later. We’ve got to save the Takoma Theatre, and with your support we can do it. (The Takoma Theatre Conservancy is a 501©(3) non-profit organization. Your contributions are tax deductible.)"

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