Mott Motors (Plymouth Theater)

Built as a car dealership in the 1920s, this building later became a theater for Black moviegoers during segregation.

Built in 1928, the one-story commercial Mott Motors building typifies the small automobile dealerships that fostered the transformation of traditional retail streets into automobile-oriented shopping strips. Designed by the noted local firm Upman & Adams, the storefront is an eclectic Italianate composition, executed in textured limestone with Moorish entrances, a tile roof, and battlemented cornice. Originally constructed as an automobile showroom and repair facility, the building has a flat roof with red terracotta tiles.

In 1943, the building was converted into Plymouth Theater, a cinema catering principally to the Black community—the first such facility in the Northeast neighborhood. After renovations, the Plymouth Theater had a concrete deck and concrete beams supported by brick piers along the masonry party walls. The theater closed in 1952 and hosted a number of businesses thereafter.

More recently in 2001, the car dealer turned theater became the H Street Playhouse, seeking to develop and revitalize the H Street commercial corridor; however, the H Street Playhouse closed in 2012. Today, the building serves a new purpose as a CrossFit gym.

DC Inventory: April 25, 2002
National Register: March 3, 2004



1365 H Street NE