Hyattsville’s Silent Movie Theater

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One of the first modern movie theaters in the Washington suburbs was in Hyattsville, and the exterior of the building is still around.

Businessman Sidney Lust, a partner of the actual Warner brothers, moved to the D.C. area in the 1920s to start a chain of theaters.

According to Robert K. Headly’s “Maryland’s Motion Picture Theatres,” two of the first modern theaters in the D.C. suburbs were the Cameo in Mount Rainier, which opened in 1924, and the Arcade in Hyattsville at 4318 Gallatin St., which opened in November of 1925.

The 350-seat Arcade theater was eventually replaced by the Art Deco-style 900-seat Hyattsville Theatre, which operated on Baltimore Avenue from November of 1939 to 1965. That building was later torn down to provide additional space for a car dealership on what is now the site of the west side of the Arts District Hyattsville development.

The Arcade theater building was rehabilitated a few years ago by the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation.

In another book, “Motion Picture Exhibition in Washington, D.C.,” Headly notes that Lust was active in civic affairs, especially in the Hyattsville area, sponsoring the Easter Egg Hunt at Magruder Park for 20 years.

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