Hippodrome Theatre

215 N. Union Street,
Danville, VA 24541

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Additional Info

Functions: Movies

Previous Names: Lincoln Theatre

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Hippodrome Theatre building

This one story brick building has been altered from its original 2-story height. The building has a stretcher-bond front facade with modern display windows and mansard, five-course American-bond brick side elevations with bricked up segmental-head window and door openings, and a rear brick addition.

The building was built in 1917 and opened as the Hippodrome Theatre that same year. In 1920 its two occupants were the Hippodrome Theatre and the Hippodrome Barber Shop, both African-American operated businesses. In October 1931 it was renamed Lincoln Theatre. It was closed in late-1934 or early-1935. Later in the 1930’s the building had been made into a furniture store.

Contributed by Jonathan Hackworth

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

wsasser on November 9, 2016 at 6:23 pm

per a news article that I just posted, it opened in 1917

50sSNIPES on October 23, 2022 at 8:33 pm

On March 12, 1928, the council had one sole motive when it amended section 666 of the Ordinance of the city itself. The person who owns the Hippodrome Theatre at the time also owns the Danville Bee, though at the time could be done for personal reasons against the owner. The council at the time paid $950 in the previous months for damages, such as bursting of an obsolete water pipe. In connection of it, its schedule was changed to a unique schedule. The changes leads all persons to leave the theater before midnight and reopen after midnight for the “Midnight Rambles” which were a string of live performances and films.

On July 26, 1929, the theater installed sound and ran its first sound film “Molly And Me” three days later, but was unknown if any short subjects were added due to lost information. Unfortunately, less than a year afterward, the theater took the wrong turn.

On April 4, 1930, the proprietor of the Hippodrome Theatre, 38-year-old “William A.” Don Levy, took his own life by shooting himself in the right temple next to his ear with a .32-calibre pistol. Just seconds before he shot himself, he was stretching on his leather couch running the length of the wall and placed his head on the pillow. After placing his head on the pillow, he pulled his pistol and shot himself. Danville Police first heard of the suicide at 11:30 AM EDT when a negro citizen called in exclaiming breathlessly that a man killed himself inside the Hippodrome Theatre. Don Levy, a civilian of Danville, had gone about his plans with deliberation. The small 6x10 desk in the little office being neatly arranged and Don’s light brown overcoat were folded back over the chair were spotted. The victim, Don Levy, was the proprietor of the Hippodrome since 1920, who also previously worked at the Broadway Theatre from 1913 until 1920. His only surviving relative is his brother, Frank Levy, who worked for the Chesapeake & Ohio railroad at the Savannah division in Savannah, Georgia. The next day, associates of the victim said that Don had no threat or no harm to others, from which could be inferred that may led up to his suicide. Don had talked previously earlier before his suicide on falling off his theater business but had no given information that it was preying in his mind. The remains of the theater were taken by overtaker and forced to close the theater for good but only for a couple of weeks before reopening later that month by new management.

The Hippodrome Theatre changed its name to the Lincoln Theatre in early October 1931, and the Lincoln Theatre closed for the final time in late 1934 or early 1935.

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