National Theater

VLR Listing Date


NRHP Listing Date


NRHP Reference Number


National Theater, completed in 1923, was built to serve theatre, vaudeville, musical presentations, and the nascent moving picture medium. Its handsome Renaissance exterior is in keeping with its neighbors, Richmond’s Old City Hall and the Virginia State Capitol. The interior, however, is an ebullient Adamesque essay featuring arabesques and friezes with cherubs holding reels of movie film. Much of the ornament was executed by Richmond sculptor Ferruccio Legnaioli. The building was designed by architect C.K. Howell, who designed theatres in other cities and included shops at street level and offices above. The theatre hosted traveling professional companies, local musical events, and meetings. The theatre closed in 1983, and was restored by the Historic Richmond Foundation. The National Theater contributes to the city of Richmond’s Grace Street Commercial Historic District.

Last Updated: January 5, 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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