Donk’s Theatre

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Delisting Date


NRHP Reference Number

10001185; OT10001185

VLR Delisting Date


Donk’s Theatre, in Mathews County, built during 1946-47, operated as a motion picture theatre until 1970. It reopened in 1975 as a live country music theater, hosting many well known stars. Built by county entrepreneur W.C. “Donk” Dunton, who established several other neighboring businesses, the theater, with Art Deco touches, exemplifies the kind of simple and inexpensive theater construction found in many rural communities during the post-WWII years when cinema ruled the entertainment world.

During a storm in January 2016, the Donk Theatre’s roof collapsed from the weight of snow; the collapse also damaged perimeter walls. Inspection of the building after the storm revealed that the remaining walls lacked structural integrity, and the locality’s building inspector required that the remaining structural elements be removed.

Last Updated: March 2, 2024

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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