1615 Elm Street,
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Architects: R.A. Bennett
Styles: Greek Revival
W.D. Nevills owned the novelty Nickelodeon film theatres, termed ‘store shows’ in the 1900’s including the Dallas Candy Theatre, Princess Theatre, Palace Theatre, Empress Theatre, Dalton Theatre and the Nickelodeon.
Nevills opened the Washington Theatre as Dallas' first movie palace built for photoplays on Thanksgiving Day, 1912. The Hellenic Pantheon design with bronze and marble goddesses overlooking the box office, designed by R.A. Bennett of Chicago. It was said to be the first showplace of the south and one of the finest at that point of time in the United States. 2,000 lights on its exterior and Bennett’s mural frieze “The Spirit of Knowledge” was said to be the first original mural for a photoplay house.
The idea turned out to be good, so Nevills renewed his original 5-year lease for 10 more years. But with competition from the Queen Theatre, Old Mill Theatre, Crystal Theatre, Royal Theatre, Capitol Theatre, and finally the Majestic Theatre, the Washington Theatre seemed old and was downgraded to second-run features and westerns. Nevills closed the Washington Theatre at the end of his second lease after 15 years, on July 3, 1927. The building was bulldozed thereafter.
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