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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A City in Itself

Cultural Convergence

 

— Columbia Heights Heritage Trail —

 
A City in Itself Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 26, 2017
1. A City in Itself Marker
Inscription.  
Columbia Heights by the mid 1920s was a center of white elite activity and commerce. The elegant, Neoclassical style Riggs Bank branch and the Italian Renaissance style Tivoli Theater opened to great acclaim. Soon after, radio station WRC moved into the bank building, its rooftop tower advertising the wondrous new technology.

Harry Crandall's Tivoli was among the largest and grandest theaters in Washington. People literally danced in the streets the day it opened. The 2,500-seat theater hosted live shows as well as films. It was Washington's first movie house equipped for "talkies," movies with sound.

With these two anchors, Columbia Heights in 1928 was "practically independent of downtown Washington," proclaimed the Washington Post. Then the housing demands of the Great Depression and World War II led some to subdivide the larger houses. New residents in the 1950s demanded more affordable goods and services. Soon the discount department store Morton's arrived, and the number of night spots increased.

Like many other DC theaters, the Tivoli was segregated until forced by the Supreme Court in
A City in Itself Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 26, 2017
2. A City in Itself Marker
1953 to desegregated. In the 1960s its programming shifted to attract local audiences in the now-predominantly African American community. Children enjoyed Saturday matinees for 25 cents, with 15-cent popcorn and 10-cent sodas. Despite the civil disturbances of 1968, the Tivoli remained a neighborhood anchor until it closed in 1976. Thanks to preservationists and area residents, the landmark was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 and was carefully restored in 2006.
 
Erected 2009 by Cultural Tourism DC. (Marker Number 3.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansCommunicationsEntertainmentIndustry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Columbia Heights Heritage Trail series list.
 
Location. 38° 55.828′ N, 77° 1.943′ W. Marker is in Columbia Heights in Washington, District of Columbia. Marker is at the intersection of Park Road Northwest and 14th Street Northwest, on the right on Park Road Northwest. Along the south side of the Tivoli Theater. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3301 14th Street Northwest, Washington DC 20010, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Amusement Palace (within shouting distance of this marker); After the Hard Times (about 400 feet away, measured
A City in Itself Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 26, 2017
3. A City in Itself Marker
in a direct line); Main Street (about 700 feet away); Holmead Legacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Wilson Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Latino Intelligence Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Mount Pleasant: The Immigrants' Journey (approx. ¼ mile away); Mount Pleasant Library (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia Heights.
 
Tivoli Theater with marker showing on the right side image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, December 26, 2017
4. Tivoli Theater with marker showing on the right side
DC Lottery Ad in Union Station image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, January 13, 2018
5. DC Lottery Ad in Union Station
This ad in Union Station features the Tivoli Theater representing Columbia Heights.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 18, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 26, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 134 times since then and 28 times this year. Last updated on March 7, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 26, 2017, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.   5. submitted on January 14, 2018, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Sep. 26, 2020