In 1927, the Globe Amusement Company acquired the property of the late Joseph T. Kengla, at 2324 Wisconsin Avenue. The plan to construct a thousand-seat movie theater, interrupted by the Depression, was taken up again in 1936. According to the announcement, some “40,000 residents of the section of the city including Old Georgetown, Cathedral Heights and Massachusetts Park who heretofore have had to travel some distance for their motion picture entertainment will have a theater in their own community”; Glover Park was not mentioned.
The Calvert Theater opened on May 6, 1937 with “The Prince and the Pauper”, starring Erroll Flynn and the Mauch Twins. An orchestra provided music. District Commissioner Melvin Hazen addressed the audience, as did Myron Walker of the Glover Park Citizens Association.
(“Warners Plan Picture House In Georgetown: Work Soon to Begin on New Calvert Theater on Wisconsin Avenue”, Washington Post, 30 July 30, 1936, p.X14; “Calvert Theater, Sixteenth on the Warner Circuit, Opens at 2324 Wisconsin Avenue Thursday Night: Commissioner Melvin C. Hazen Will Play Important Part in Inaugural Ceremonies”, Washington Post, May 3, 1937, p.14; “Latest Screen Equipment Is Installed Here; Air Cooling Adds To Patrons’ Comfort”, Washington Post, May 6, 1937, p.11; Robert K. Headley, Motion Picture Exhibition in Washington, DC: An Illustrated History of Parlors, Palaces and Multiplexes in the Metropolitan Area, 1894-1997, 1999 )
The Calvert was designed by John Eberson, and was part of a trend toward neighborhood theaters, and away from theater districts. Its front was composed of colored “vitreous material” and aluminum trim, which made “a decidedly striking effect”. The theater’s name was spelled in red neon letters that lit up in sequence, went dark, then came on all together. It was air-conditioned (which was still a rare luxury). The auditorium walls were covered in damask, and a “hand-painted screen of unusual workmanship and beauty” was located in the ladies’ lounge. A ticket cost thirty-five cents.
In 1963 Warner Brothers sold the Calvert to Mann Theaters. The Calvert closed in May of 1967 with a double bill of “Alfie” and “Funeral in Berlin”. Only the facade was saved from the wrecking ball, and served for the next fifteen years as the landmark for The Calvert Wine and Cheese Shop, which had opened next door in 1965: customers of the Calvert Shop were offered the unique experience of driving under the marquee of the Calvert Theater, and through its former lobby, to park their cars. (“Calvert to Be A Parking Lot”, Washington Post Times Herald, March 1, 1967, p.B6)
The Calvert Shop sold out about 1982, and the Sheffield Apartments, at 2320 Wisconsin Avenue, came on the market in 1984.
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