Now used for mixed-use retail, the Tivoli Theatre was once a thriving motion picture palace.
Completed in 1924, the Tivoli Theatre is the only theater still standing in DC by Thomas White Lamb (1871-1942), the leading theater architect of the Golden Age of motion picture palaces. The theater reflects Italian Renaissance revival and Mediterranean Revival architectural styles with its stucco exterior, red tile roof, ornate cornices, and numerous graceful arches. In addition to the main theater auditorium, the building contained offices on the upper floors and several two-story shops along Fourteenth Street. Tivoli is notable for its imaginative design, innovative technology, and sumptuous interior.
Tivoli Theatre was closely associated with its predecessor, the Knickerbocker Theater, as its owner, theater magnate Harry M. Crandall (1879-1937), operated chains of movie theaters in DC. Crandall significantly contributed to the cultural heritage and development of DC. The building’s elegant architecture is typical of the motion picture palaces of its day.
In 1976, the Tivoli closed due to increased deterioration of the theater and the local area. After twenty-five years of closure, the Tivoli has benefited from a revitalization of the Columbia Heights neighborhood. In 2005, the theater reopened after six years of renovation. The Tivoli is now the home of GALA (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) Hispanic Theatre, a local non-profit committed to sharing Hispanic culture through the arts. GALA currently uses the former balcony and there is mixed retail and restaurant use in the rest of the building.
DC Inventory: June 24, 1983
National Register: April 10, 1985