Chevy Chase Theater (Avalon Theater)
The Chevy Chase Theater is the city's oldest continuously operating neighborhood theater, a rare local example of an early neighborhood movie house.
Built in 1922 by noted local architects Upman and Adams, the Chevy Chase Theater reflects a "high-style" example of a neighborhood movie house. The main auditorium features a stage, organ screens, and proscenium characteristic of movie theaters built during the "silent" era. As the theater predates "talkies," the auditorium has a shallow stage, which would have been used by an impresario, and organ screens, which projected the musical accompaniment. The Chevy Chase Theater is the oldest intact neighborhood movie theater in Washington, and although it has been altered and damaged, it remains in relatively good condition.
The theater is located within the Connecticut Avenue "commercial island" in Chevy Chase, an attached two-story building in the Classical Revival style, featuring a large marquee. Its central entrance was flanked by two show windows for the one-story commercial spaces on either side. The second story features a tripartite window at the center flanked by large single windows; the former is framed by limestone Corinthian pilasters and decorative panels, while the latter are framed by stylized pilasters and an ornate limestone arches. A full metal entablature crowns the building; its frieze incorporates stylized flowers separated by vertical grooves, which suggest hieroglyphs.
DC Inventory: April 25, 1996
National Register: August 16, 1996