Century Theatre

249 N. Sycamore Street,
Petersburg, VA 23803

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Crandall Amusement Company, Neighborhood Theatres

Architects: C.K. Bryant

Nearby Theaters

Century Theatre

The Century Theatre operated from 1918. It 1920 it was taken over by Crandall Amusement Company and was remodeled to the plans of architect Reginald Wycliffe Geare. It was closed on November 1, 1970. The building was demolished for a parking lot.

Contributed by Chuck, Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

oldtown on June 4, 2010 at 9:40 pm

i came across a picture of the century while re searching buildings in petersburg at library of virginia.
in picture on front of the century theater is the year 1918
it shows the street,and even a traffic patrolman standing at his booth.
possibility that it was built 1918
i have a copy of the picture to submit.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on July 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The Century closed in the fall of 1970. Its last picture was “Good Morning and Goodbye”.

lawdawg51 on February 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

My wife wanted to comment that this is where she saw The Sound of Music in 1965. Her father was stationed at Ft. Lee. Her grandmother came from Tennessee to visit and they took her to see the movie. She remembers choking on a Milk Dud and afraid to make a sound (little ones were taught to be quiet in the theater in those days)! She was 8 years old and attending Bollingbrook Day School. While her father was in VietNam for his first tour, she moved to Woodmere Apartments. The Walnut Hill Shopping Center was under construction and a movie theater was built across the road. She says she spent some Sat afternoons in the matinee and they would stay all afternoon; no one told them to leave. On Google Maps, it looks as if the building that housed the theater is still there but the shopping center is pretty dead. She remembers the movie playing at the “new” theater was “Alfie”…her mother told her that she couldn’t see it as it was for adults only.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on February 24, 2013 at 2:09 pm

The new theatre was the Walnut Mall, which was built to replace the aging Century, but the Century soldiered on for about three more years and closed because they were afraid the roof would cave in if there was a heavy snow. The Walnut Mall Theatre was later twinned. Then after it closed, it became a church, which it is to this day.

bufffilmbuff on May 13, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I remember skipping school with some friends one day and going to the Century to see Russ Meyer’s VIXEN… a soft core porn film which would probably look pretty mild today. This was during the last years that the Century was open.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 12, 2015 at 8:21 pm

An article in the September 20, 1964, issue of the Petersburg Progress-Index said that the Century Theatre Company was chartered in 1917, so the theater must have been opened by 1918. In its early years the Century featured Keith vaudeville.

The October 6, 1917, issue of The American Contractor had this item:

“Petersburg, Va.—Theater & Store Bldg.: $50,000. 1 sty. Asso. Archts. & Bldrs. C. K. Bryant, Craig & Isbell, Lehigh bldg. Owner Century Amusement Co., Walter Sacks, agt.. Center Square. Bldrs. & owner taking sep. bids.”
Richmond architect C. K. Bryant had a long career, but the Petersburg firm Craig & Isbell, apparently his associates on this project, I have not found mentioned in the trade journals after 1918.

50sSNIPES on March 2, 2022 at 5:43 pm

Closed On November 1, 1970.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 23, 2024 at 8:29 pm

In 1920, the Century Theatre was taken over by Harry Crandall’s chain and subsequently remodeled, as noted in the September 20 issue of Moving Picture World:

“Crandall Enterprises Acquire New Theatre,

“A twelfth theatre has been added to the Crandall chain with the acquisition recently of the Century Theatre in Petersburg. Va. The deal was put through by Joseph P. Morgan, general manager of the Crandall enterprises.

“The Century is a modern house, having a seating capacity of approximately 1,200. Before being opened as a link in the Crandall chain, however, it will be remodeled under the supervision of Reginald Wycliffe Geare, the architect who designed all of Mr. Crandall’s later houses, among them the Metropolitan, Knickerbocker and York in this city and the Strand in Martinsburg, W. Va.”

The reference to the Strand in Martinsburg might have been in error, someone mistaking it for the Strand in Cumberland Maryland, which Geare definitely designed, but I’ve been unable to find any confirmation that he had any connection to the Martinsburg Strand, though Harry Crandall did eventually come to control that house.

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