Capri Art Theatre

307 Maryland Avenue,
Wilmington, DE 19804

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Additional Info

Architects: Wallace E. Hance

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Polonia Theatre, Avenue Theatre, Ace Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Capri Art Theatre

The Polonial Theatre was opened March 1, 1915. It was designed by architect Wallace E. Hance. In 1920 it was closed and expanded to a 1,100-seat theatre, reopening December 23, 1920. New owners took over and it reopened as the Avenue Theatre on January 20, 1923. In 1936 it was given a Streamline-Moderne style makeover and reopened as the Ace Theatre on November 2, 1936. Still listed in 1955 with 730 seats. It was closed January 4, 1963.

It reopened as the Capri Art Theatre on February 15, 1963 screening adult movies. It closed February 28, 1970. It was demolished in February 1973.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

rave323 on December 28, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Can anyone give me info on the Cinemart on Gov Prinz? I can’t find any info anywhere, but, I stop to look at it every time I’m in the area. What a mystery. The only thing I can tell is that I was built in the 60’s due to the chandelier and font on the front sign.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 2, 2010 at 7:11 am

This list of theaters in Wilmington gives the following series of names for the theater at 305-307 Maryland Avenue:

The Polonia (1921-1923)
Avenue Theater (1923-1936)
Ace Theater (1936-1963)
Capri Art Theater (1963-1970)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 25, 2013 at 5:02 pm

Yes, the Polonia Theatre is listed at 405-407 Maryland from 1915 to 1921, but I don’t know if that was a different building exactly a block away, or if Wilmington simply renumbered its blocks in 1921.

Maryland Avenue (aka Delaware 4) maps properly at Google Maps. The map for our page probably needs to be reset with the correct zip code, which is 19804.

rivest266 on May 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

November 2nd, 1936 grand opening ad in photo section.

rivest266 on May 16, 2016 at 6:05 am

February 15th, 1963 grand opening ad as Capri in photo section.

FlashCat on December 30, 2016 at 10:18 pm

It was closed in 1970 and the building was demolished in 1973.

ebdunn on January 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm

The Polonia, Avenue, Ace, Capri Art Theater was always at 305-307 Maryland Ave. The address of 405 MD., and always has been a row house in the next block – not conducive to ever being a movie theater. 305-307 MD. Ave., is a deep building (or was, until it was torn down), in 1973. If you google 305 MD. Ave., Wilmington, DE, you’ll note the size and shape of the lot.

dallasmovietheaters on January 15, 2018 at 9:32 am

Just to flesh out some information:

Wallace E. Hance was the architect of the Polonia Theatre which launched March 1, 1915 likely on a five-year lease. In 1920, the Polonia closed to expand to a 1,000 seat house reopening on December 23, 1920.

Less than two years later, the Polonia was auctioned off by the sheriff’s department in October of 1922. The new owners rebranded as the Avenue Theatre on January 20, 1923. Carrying the roots of the Polonia nameplate, Polish language films were shown when the the theatre transitioned to sound.

Mrs. John B. Spahn won a $5 cash prize in a 1936 contest to rename the theatre which went for a streamlined makeover. It relaunched November 2, 1936 as her suggested Ace Theatre. The Ace Theatre was shuttered for a laundry list of code violations on January 4, 1963.

In 1963, Topkia Construction was brought in to refresh and correct code issues to the theatre. It relaunched in its final state as the Capri Art Theatre on February 15, 1963. The city passed a dubious ordinance which put the onus on the operator to validate the non-offensive nature of the films shown which led the operator to cease operations on February 28, 1970.

The theatre was purchased at auction for $5,000 and demolished for a proposed auto-bank in February of 1973.

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