Capitol Center

123 Summers Street,
Charleston, WV 25301

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Additional Info

Architects: P. Norwood Wiggins

Functions: Church

Styles: Neo-Classical, Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Plaza Theater, Capitol Theater, Capitol Plaza Theater

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 304.342.6522

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News About This Theater

Capitol Center

Built circa 1912, the Plaza Theatre presented 10-20-30 cent vaudeville and stage plays. Destroyed by fire around 1922, it was extensively redesigned and rebuilt with movies in mind. For many years, as the Capitol Theatre, it was noted for its exceptional sound and picture (the screen was carefully curved to counteract distortion). The last major film to play the Capitol Theatre was the premiere of “Star Wars”.

The theater closed a few years later, in the mid-1970’s. A private group began restoration in the 1980’s with the intent of opening the theater as a performing arts center, but capitalization was insufficient. The building was donated as a tax loss to West Virginia State University, which now calls it the Capitol Center.

The only regular performances are the Sunday services of River Ridge Church, which lacks a building of its own. In March 2018 the church purchased the theatre.

Contributed by Charlie Cooper

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

jackwhittaker on August 27, 2007 at 10:21 pm

In the Fifties the Capitol Theater, and other properties in Charleston, were owned by the Middleberg family. Their nephew, Kelly Reed was my best friend in High School. We would see free movies and explore backstage. The, then new, CinemaScope screen was awesome. What a wonderful old movie palace. I’ll never forget it. Thanks Kelly.
Jack Whittaker
Palm Springs, California

kencmcintyre on September 19, 2007 at 7:37 am

Here is a June 1950 ad from the Charleston Gazette:

KPKilburn on November 18, 2007 at 6:28 am

I’ll never forget my father taking me to The Capitol Theater for the premier of Star Wars over 30 years ago.

Nessa on June 29, 2011 at 6:53 am

Here are my photos of the interior and exterior of the theatre.

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on March 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Here are my pictures from August 2011.

adamghost on December 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m looking right at it, and this theater is open for business. The Nutcracker Suite is playing.

DavidZornig on April 10, 2019 at 7:42 am

Sold to a church in March 2018 with services expected to start in September of that year.

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