Chase's Theater and Riggs Building
The Chase's Theater and Riggs Building, also known as the Keith-Albee Theater is an historic building located at 1426 G Street and 615-627 15th Street, Northeast, Washington, D.C., in the Downtown neighborhood.


It was originally built in 1912, and was designed by Jules Henri de Sibour
Jules Henri de Sibour
Jules Gabriel Henri de Sibour was a French architect.Born in Paris, France to Vicomte Gabriel de Sibour and Mary Louisa Johnson of Belfast, Maine, he came to the United States as a child and attended St. Paul's School in New Hampshire. He received a degree from Yale University in 1896, where he...

The Beaux-Arts theater, was a part of the B.F. Keith vaudeville
Vaudeville was a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s. Each performance was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts grouped together on a common bill...

 circuit, which became a part of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum
The Keith-Albee-Orpheum Corporation was the owner of a chain of vaudeville and motion picture theatres. It was formed by the merger of the holdings of Benjamin Franklin Keith and Edward Franklin Albee II and Martin Beck's Orpheum Circuit, Inc..-History:...

 chain, and then RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures
RKO Pictures is an American film production and distribution company. As RKO Radio Pictures Inc., it was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The business was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater chains and Joseph P...

. President Taft
- People :* William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States and 10th Chief Justice of the United States* Hulbert Taft, founders of Cincinnati Times-Star and Taft Broadcasting*The Taft family, a political dynasty that includes the above-named President:...

 attended the opening in 1912, and Woodrow Wilson
Woodrow Wilson
Thomas Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, from 1913 to 1921. A leader of the Progressive Movement, he served as President of Princeton University from 1902 to 1910, and then as the Governor of New Jersey from 1911 to 1913...

 regularly attended.
Entertainers included: Will Rogers
Will Rogers
William "Will" Penn Adair Rogers was an American cowboy, comedian, humorist, social commentator, vaudeville performer, film actor, and one of the world's best-known celebrities in the 1920s and 1930s....

, Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor was an American "illustrated song" performer, comedian, dancer, singer, actor and songwriter...

, Rudy Vallée
Rudy Vallée
Rudy Vallée was an American singer, actor, bandleader, and entertainer.-Early life:Born Hubert Prior Vallée in Island Pond, Vermont, the son of Charles Alphonse and Catherine Lynch Vallée...

, Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy
Laurel and Hardy were one of the most popular and critically acclaimed comedy double acts of the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema...

, and ZaSu Pitts
ZaSu Pitts
ZaSu Pitts was an American actress who starred in many silent dramas and comedies, transitioning to comedy sound films.-Early life:ZaSu Pitts was born in Parsons, Kansas to Rulandus and Nellie Pitts; she was the third of four children...


In 1956, RKO sold the building, to Morris Cafritz
Morris Cafritz
Morris Cafritz was a Washington, D.C. real estate developer, and philanthropist.-Life:His family immigrated from Lithuania, to Washington, D.C. They lived at 2706 N Street, in Georgetown. He bought produce for his father's grocery store...

 for $1.55 million. In 1959, he offered to sell the building to the city as a performing arts center, but the city would not assume the $1.5 million mortgage.
The movie theater closed in 1978; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...


In March 1978, the United States Commission of Fine Arts
United States Commission of Fine Arts
The United States Commission of Fine Arts , established in 1910 by an act of Congress, is an advisory agency of the Federal government.The CFA is mandated to review and provide advice on "matters of design and aesthetics", involving federal projects and planning in Washington, D.C...

 recommended saving the facade of the Keith-Albee Theater and National Metropolitan Bank.

In 1979, the D.C. Superior Court halted demolition of the Keith Albee building, but then allowed demolition of the interior. The developer said he would preserve the historic facade of the Keith-Albee theater building, if he could demolish Rhodes' Tavern
Rhodes' Tavern
Rhodes Tavern was the site of an historic tavern in the early history of Washington, D.C. It was located at 15th Street and F Street, Northwest, Washington, D.C.-History:...


It is now the Metropolitan Square office building.

See also

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in the District of Columbia
  • Theater in Washington D.C.
    Theater in Washington D.C.
    Theater companies and live theater venues in Washington, DC-Producing Theaters:*Adventure Theatre - *Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater - **Fichandler Stage**Kreeger Theater**The Black Box Theater at Arena Stage...

External links

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