The Warner Theatre and Office Building, Washington DC


The Warner Theater
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

The Warner Theater, c. 1950.
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

The Warner Theatre and Office Building is the sole surviving movie palace downtown. Opening in 1924, it is a ten-story, stone and terra cotta structure that features a corner tower. It was designed by C. Howard Crane, a noted theater architect and Kenneth Franzheim. The architects created a serenely classical and monumental structure, made interesting by the intricate detailing and decoration of the façade and tower. As were most movie palaces of the 1920s, the Warner was a showcase for both films and vaudeville acts. Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, George Burns and Gracie Allen graced its stage. Big bands such as those led by Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo and Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey also appeared. Stage shows were continued at the house until 1945, when it shifted to an all-movie format. After periods of darkness and abuse, the Warner has been restored to its former grandeur, and is used for theatrical shows and concerts






The Warner Theatre is located at 501 13th St., NW. It is open to the public during performances. For more information call 202/783-4000.