Piece of history restored in Georgetown

Don't expect the neon sign to glow until a lighting ceremony planned for Sept. 23, but when the switch is flipped the sign will look the same way it did for decades.

WASHINGTON — A longtime symbol of Georgetown that brings back fond memories for many is hanging once again above Wisconsin Avenue.

The Georgetown Theater stopped showing movies about three decades back, and in recent years the building sat vacant on Wisconsin Avenue at O Street.

Recently, the theater’s big vertical sign was taken down and completely restored by the same company that originally made it.

Wednesday, the iconic sign was reinstalled on the theater’s newly revealed white facade.

“It looks just like it did in 1945 when they put it up,” architect and building owner Robert Bell told WTOP.

Don’t expect the neon sign to glow until a lighting ceremony planned for Sept. 23, but when the switch is flipped the sign will look the same way it did for decades.

“Right now it’s black and white with a black background, but when we light it up, all the neon turns red.”

Bell is converting the theater into apartments, offices and maybe a restaurant.

“We’re excited for him to finish, and finally we get to see his creation,” said Taraneh Dadmarz, owner of English Rose Garden flower shop on O Street.

She said it’s just one of the good things that are happening in the neighborhood.

“A lot of wonderful businesses are coming in.”

One of those new arrivals is Crumbs & Whiskers on O Street, the city’s first and instantly popular cat cafe.

We spotted Grace Bateman, who lives right around the corner from the Georgetown Theater, snapping a picture of it.

“It’s been an eyesore for most of the 30 odd years that we’ve lived here, and now it’s going to be useful, it’s going to be beautiful, and I’m so happy they saved the sign.”

Bell said people walking or driving by might notice more changes in a few weeks.

“We’re going to do the two side windows, or the coming soon windows, in about 3 weeks.  And then maybe 6 weeks from now, 7 weeks from now, we’ll do all the front doors and entrances.”

He hopes to have the building ready for move-in around Christmas of this year.

“A Christmas present,” he added with a laugh.

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  • GFYM

    Kramer is going to go nuts after a while with that red light shining in his window http://i.ytimg.com/vi/QOrn44JXZ5A/hqdefault.jpg

  • Echo

    Oh, for sure . . . THAT is a piece of HISTORY — but things like flags, statues, stone murals, etc. from our COUNTRY’S past that have brought us to where we are now and did not leave us where we were then have no meaning… No wonder our country is so screwed up . . . when we don’t want to be reminded because it hurts (ewwwwie), but we want something that memorializes something like a theater — that did what for us???

    I don’t care what religion, race or persuasion you are and what American historical “symbol” causes you “pain” . . . YOU are living in a country that allows you the freedoms you have and those symbols represent what this nation went thru to give YOU that freedom.

    You can put me on blast — I don’t care. I have the freedom to say that !

    HISTORICAL LIVES MATTER . . .