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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Now Playing: 1920

Now Playing: 1920

"York Theater, night." Washington, D.C., circa 1920. Among the cinematic offerings: Jack Pickford in "In Wrong." National Photo Co. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Petworth Memories

This is very close to where I grew up, and is the first place I ever saw a movie, when in 1955 my grandmother took me to see an Abbott and Costello picture there. I hope you'll find other pictures from Petworth, preferably the residential neighborhood around 5th & Quincy Street NW. As someone who lived there for 44 years, I am most curious. The rowhouse development seems to have begun near the end of WWI.

Old York

Headley reports that the York was in service as a theater until at least May, 1954. In 1957 it was sold to the National Evangelistic Center and converted to its current use.

He also notes that newspaper coverage for Harry Crandall's theaters was generous. While newspaper accounts claimed that $100,000 was spent building the York, the actual cost was only $50,000.


It is no big surprise that the building is still there virtually intact. Old movie houses are easily converted to other uses -- supermarkets, warehouses and the most common, as in this case, churches. It is remarkably well preserved with the exception of the storm canopy and the poster cases.

Beautiful Photo!

What a nice photograph. You can really appreciate the sense of the photographer in love with his craft. It completely transcends the typical yet fascinating National Photo fare. It just reeks of atmosphere and ambiance!

New Photoplay House

Builds Eighth 'Movie'

Harry M. Crandall Constructs the York in Petworth

The York Theater, eighth link in the chain of photoplay houses operated in the Capital by Harry M. Crandall, is now in course of construction on Georgia avenue, occupying the entire area between Princeton and Quebec streets. The newest of the Crandall theaters will have a seating capacity of 1,000 on one floor, no provision having been made for a balcony. The total floor area will be 10,000 square feet.

Entrance on Georgia Avenue

Entrance to the York will be from Georgia avenue into a foyer fifty feet long and twenty feet wide, with a ceiling height of twenty-five feet. The lobby walls will be of marble with inset, self-lighted poster panes. Lighting will be of the indirect, self-diffusing type.

The exterior of the theater will be golden brown brick laid in white mortar, with cornice, coping and clerestory walls trimmed in gold.

Silk Canopy Inside

The entrance will be surmounted by a marquee of wrought iron, copper and Tiffany glass, to harmonize with the color treatment of the building, which will extend to the curb line and be fitted with brilliant flood lights, bathing the entire front of the structure in bright light.

The decorative scheme utilized throughout the interior will be in silver, black and gold. One interior feature deserving mention is the treatment of the proscenium, which will be built in three arches under a silk canopy extending over the audience beyond the orchestra platform. The screen and side curtains, as well as the overhanging canopy, will be of gold silk, further beautified by concealed colored lighting making possible many extraordinary effects. There will also be elaborate balloon fixtures hanging from the ceiling.

Of special interests will be the ventilating and heating system specially designed for the theater. The unique feature of the new system will be that heat will be blown in from the ceiling. The same system will serve to introduce cooled air during hot weather and is capably of completely changing the atmosphere of the theater every thirty seconds.

Crandall's York Theater was designed by, and is built under the personal supervision of Reginald E. Geare, who also planned and supervised construction of Crandall's Metropolitan and Knickerbocker theaters.

The York will open about October 15, and will be devoted to exclusive showings of photoplays of the highest grade. The completion of the York will give Mr. Crandall three houses of the first rank in the northwest residential portion of Washington, the Knickerbocker and the Savoy being the other two.

Washington Post, Jun 1, 1919

Wow! It is still there!

View Larger Map


I love the sidecar rig, and thinking that that was once a reasonable mode of transportation!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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