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Silver Theatre, c. 1952 The centerpiece of Silver Spring's Art Deco commercial architecture is the 1938 Silver Theatre and Silver Spring Shopping Center complex at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road.

Designed by world-renowned theater architect John Eberson and developed at the height of the New Deal by the Treasurer of the United States, William Alexander Julian, a friend of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the theater-shopping center complex combined a cinema from Hollywood's golden age with a motor-age shopping center designed for easy access by automobiles.

By the early 1950's, the theater-shopping center complex had triggered a commercial boom in Silver Spring extending to adjacent square blocks. The center became the hub of a major business district with regional appeal. Silver Spring's success became a milestone in the suburbanization of Washington, D.C.

See our exterior and interior galleries for more Silver Theatre photos.

Preservation and Redevelopment

Richard Striner welcomes bus tour to Silver SpringIn 1984, the Art Deco Society of Washington launched a historic preservation campaign in Silver Spring to preserve the theater-shopping center complex and to blend it with appropriate new development. Our campaign resulted in legal protection for the complex: it was added to Montgomery County, Maryland's Master Plan for Historic Preservation and it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Silver Theatre was restored as part of a project by Montgomery Country and the American Film Instutute. It will reopen in April 2003 as part of the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center complex. Join ADSW as we tour the theatre and center.

Architect's rendering courtesy of AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center

Location

Silver Theatre
8619 Colesville Road
Silver Spring, Maryland

Development

Constructed 1938: John Eberson, architect; William Alexander Julian, developer.



Created January 31, 1998; Modified March 19, 2003