Mid-City Theater

1223 Ninth Street NW,
Washington, DC 20001

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Mid-City Theater

The Mid-City Theater opened on the first floor of a three-story brick building in 1913. The conversion work was carried out by architect Samuel R. Turner. By 1919 it had become an African-American theater operated by Sherman H. Dudley (an African-American). It opened mainly in the evenings and had a vaudeville act (or two) during the break between movies.

In 1930, Dudley sold the theater to a white-owned corporation. On 3rd March 1945, with an audience of 200 attending, its ceiling and large chandelier fell in the theater, and twenty people were injured. Repairs were made and the Mid-City Theater continued until closing in 1952.

It has since been demolished.

Contributed by JF Lundy, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 28, 2008 at 9:43 am

Here is a 1937 photograph of the Mid-City Theater:

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on March 2, 2008 at 5:57 pm

The Washington Convention Center is now located on the site of this theater. It was on the east side of 9th St NW slightly north of M St NW.

“They showed the old movie theater, and half of it was gone.” Scott Ward

teecee on November 13, 2009 at 11:56 am

This theater, unlike all others in the area, was fully integrated as both black and white patrons could sit anywhere. The Happyland (live theater?) and Gem had a divider down the center of the auditorium to separate the races.

Source: “Shaw Historic District” pamphlet published by the DC Historic Preservation office in 2008.

TLSLOEWS on March 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

Nice 1937 photo KenRoe.

TLSLOEWS on March 4, 2010 at 10:34 am

Nice 1937 photo KenRoe.

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