The DC Preservation League has applied to seek historic landmark
designation for the American Theater, a single-story building in Bloomingdale.
at 104-108 Rhode Island Avenue NW (map), the structure was constructed as
the “American Theatre” in 1913, then renovated and rebranded as the
“Sylvan Theatre” in 1930.
While the theater only
admitted white audiences for the first several decades it was open, the Black
American Theater (BAT) took over the space in the late 1960s, establishing the
first Black-operated commercial theater in the District. The application
identifies the Theatre’s period of significance as 1913 through 1972, when