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Henrico Theatre - Highland Springs, VA
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member archway
N 37° 32.596 W 077° 19.533
18S E 294548 N 4157683
Quick Description: Restored Art Deco theater in Highland Springs, VA
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 1/17/2010 11:59:59 AM
Waymark Code: WM82TE
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Farkle 7
Views: 2

Long Description:
The Henrico Theatre in Highland Springs opened April 25, 1938. The first film shown was "Thin Ice" starring Sonja Henie and Tyrone Power. Ticket prices were $0.25 for adults and $0.10 for children. The Art Deco building was designed by Edward F. Sinnott, Sr. of Richmond, and it was owned by Charles A. Somma and B. N. Somma who also built Richmond's Byrd Theatre several years before.

The Theatre closed in 1996 and fell into disrepair. In 1999 the County of Henrico purchased the building and initiated a $5.8 million restoration program. The original seating capacity of over 800 was reduced to 400 in order to expand the lobby. A grand re-opening ceremony took place October 27, 2007. In addition to films, the theatre hosts cultural events and can be rented for meetings and other gatherings.

Henrico Theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

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In the 1920s and 1930s, the language of modern architecture spoke in many dialects: “stripped classicism,” Art Deco, the streamlined style, and the International Style were all recognized inflections of modernism. One of the most aggressively modern of these strains was the Art Deco. During the 1920s and 1930s, Art Deco was known by a variety of names: Modernistic, Moderne, the vertical style, and the skyscraper style. Influenced by the 1925 world’s fair in Paris from which the style derived its name, the Exposition Internationale des Arts De´coratifs et Industriels Moderns, the style quickly took root in America. Influenced by the machine, architects working in this mode were drawn to stepped back profiles, intertwining geometric and foliate decoration, and in general, approached architectural elements as though they were parts of a complicated machine.

Buildings designed in the Art Deco mode embraced modernity: as in the case of the Henrico Theatre, the design could be seen as a statement both embracing the newness and modernity of motion pictures, as well as making a clear statement about the possibilities for advancement of this once-rural, and then-emerging suburban portion of Henrico County. The modernity of the Henrico Theatre can be read as a clear statement of the emerging possibilities of the area. The choice of architectural style was an open embrace of the promise of modernity to transform once out-of-the-way places through the modern developments in communications (such as the motion picture) which were in turn made possible at heretofore unimaginably rapid rates of distribution though developments in automobile and airborne transportation. The motion picture industry, including the theatres in which films were shown, exemplified the modern transformation of information distribution, and embraced a wide range of developments in technology and transportation available to places formerly considered too isolated. Art Deco was just the style to convey this promise of modernity, and the Henrico Theatre is, for these reasons, an excellent example of it.

Source: National Register of Historic Places Registration Form (dated 9/26/05)

Style: Art Deco

Structure Type: Commercial/Retail

Architect: Edward F. Sinnott, Sr.

Date Built: 1938

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