The MacArthur Theater is a large neighborhood movie house, characteristic of the theaters that were once prominent in the city's outlying commercial centers. Such places of popular entertainment, convenient by car and removed from downtown congestion, help to illustrate the city's social history and suburban expansion. For 50 years, from 1946 until the 1990s, the building was operated as a movie house, hosting the world premiere of Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979.
Built at the close of World War II, the MacArthur typifies the Moderne style of architecture. It is the work of John J. Zink, noted for his technical innovations and the design of more than 200 motion picture theaters throughout the Mid-Atlantic states, and it reflects the influence of modernism in both design and materials. The one-story building is irregular in shape and features a curved aluminum marquee, a ramped terrazzo floor, and frameless glass doors that allow an open flow from the sidewalk to the marble-paneled lobby. No longer a theater, the building has been converted to other retail use.
DC Inventory: June 26, 1997