Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Portsmouth, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Commodore Theatre

 
 
The Commodore Theatre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Laura Troy, November 12, 2007
1. The Commodore Theatre Marker
Inscription. Opened on November 14, 1945, the Commodore Theatre was designed by noted Baltimore architect John J. Zink and built and operated by William S. "Bunkie" Wilder, a Portsmouth native, as his flagship theatre. It is named for Commodore James Barron, veteran of the War of 1812, who is buried in the churchyard next to the theatre.

The Art Deco theatre has a nautical theme and two large murals depicting local and national history.

The Commodore showed motion pictures and hosted community stage presentations until 1975, when it closed for twelve years.

In 1987, Fred Schoenfeld purchased the theatre and spent two and a half years restoring it. He re-opened the Commodore on December 21, 1989 as a first-run movie theatre with full-service dining—the first such cinema-eatery in the United States.

Meeting stringent exhibition criteria for sound, image, and audience experience, the Commodore Theatre earned THX-certification for excellence.
 
Location. 36° 50.117′ N, 76° 18.098′ W. Marker is in Portsmouth, Virginia. Marker is on High Street west of Court Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 421 High Street, Portsmouth VA 23704, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers
The Commodore Theatre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Laura Troy, November 12, 2007
2. The Commodore Theatre Marker
The Commodore Theatre has been registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark pursuant to the authority vested in the Virginia Board of Historic Resources.
are within walking distance of this marker. Norfolk County Court House (within shouting distance of this marker); The 1846 Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Confederate Monument (within shouting distance of this marker); Trinity Church (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Towne Square (about 300 feet away); Monumental Methodist Church (about 300 feet away); Portsmouth Public Library (about 500 feet away); Reverend Francis Devlin (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portsmouth.
 
Categories. Notable Buildings
 
The Commodore Theatre image. Click for full size.
By Laura Troy, November 12, 2007
3. The Commodore Theatre
Commodore James Barron's Grave image. Click for full size.
By Laura Troy, November 12, 2007
4. Commodore James Barron's Grave
The Commodore Theatre Marker image. Click for full size.
By Laura Troy, November 12, 2007
5. The Commodore Theatre Marker
Commodore James Barron, U.S.N. Senior Officer aboard the Frigate Chesapeake placed by Fort Norfolk Chapter U.S. Daughters of 1812
The Commodore Theatre image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, February 12, 2014
6. The Commodore Theatre
Built 1945
Has Been Placed On The
National Register of Historic Places
By The United States Department of The Interior
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 12, 2007, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia. This page has been viewed 895 times since then and 24 times this year. Last updated on July 3, 2009, by Kristin Rollins of Portsmouth, Virginia. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 12, 2007, by Laura Troy of Burke, Virginia.   6. submitted on February 14, 2014, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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