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Lost Washington: Loew's Palace Theater

Opened on November 4, 1918, the Loew's Palace Theater was Washington's first movie palace and the site of numerous early premieres. Loew's was designed by architect Thomas W. Lamb as a 2423 seat single screen theater and was located at 1306 F Street, NW.

In addition to motion pictures, stage shows began in 1926 and continued until 1932. The Loew's Palace Theater was also reportedly the first DC movie house with air conditioning, which was installed in 1926.

As the theater began to decline, Loew's spent $225,000 to renovate the theater in 1964 which changed the paint, walls, and carpeting at which time orchestra and balcony wall boxes were also removed.

In 1968, a robbery occurred in which two people were shot and wounded and a year later Loew's put the old movie palace up for sale. The Loew's Palace was finally closed for good in 1978, and was torn down in late 1979.

History from Cinema Treasures. Photos from the Library of Congress Harris & Ewing Collection.

Kent Boese posts items of historic interest primarily within the District. He's worked in libraries since 1994, both federal and law, and currently works on K Street. He's been an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner serving the northern Columbia Heights and Park View neighborhoods since 2011 (ANC 1A), and is the force behind the blog Park View, D.C.


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goddamn, it's a shame that one was lost...

by IMGoph on Apr 30, 2009 9:10 pm • linkreport

Beautiful! My dad was excited to see these pictures - he said he saw Gone With the Wind there!

by AMDCer on May 1, 2009 11:52 am • linkreport

I know people are nostalgic, and its a beautiful interior, but I eventually see movie theatres going the way of record stores.

by spookiness on May 1, 2009 3:04 pm • linkreport

spookiness, no way. There's no replicating the experience of big screen, big sound, several hundred other people, and going OUT of your own house for movie like,... like going to a movie theater.

by Bianchi on May 1, 2009 3:32 pm • linkreport

My Great Uncle, Walter Sondheimer, used to play the Palace Theater as a showman. If anyone has more information about him, please contact me.

by Diane Sondheimer on Jan 26, 2011 6:33 pm • linkreport

Street Cars Go to the Movies is a new display at the Trolley Museum featuring the history of Washington's movie palaces.

by wesp on Sep 21, 2011 9:30 pm • linkreport

When I 19, I was working for Irwin Lust (nephew of Sydney Lust) delivering lighting equipment to the Warner Theater for rock concerts across from the Loews Palace as it was being torn down, the roof was gone and you could see the plaster work on the walls. Work was stopped at the time, cause the wrecking ball had broken into a long forgotten room full old projector parts.

by Chris Miller on Jan 25, 2013 11:32 am • linkreport

My grandfather worked as a projectionist there until it closed. He had tons of stories to tell about "the palace" as he called it. May he R.I.P.

by Tim on May 12, 2014 1:14 pm • linkreport

I remember going to see the Chilites at the Palace in September 1971. It was a great show.

by Pearlynn52 on May 15, 2014 2:28 pm • linkreport

The Palace was my favorite theater in the late 50s-early 60s. Not only was it was a beautiful theater but it was right next to the Blue Mirror Grill and convenient to the L buses to Chevy Chase. Saw a lot of flicks there and ate a lot of Blue Mirror burgers.

by John Anderson on Jan 21, 2016 6:30 pm • linkreport

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