Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

DC's Ontario Theater's interesting history

Ontario Theater in 1994
Flickr photo by Scott Seymour.

The Streets of Washington blog has a nice entry on Adams-Morgan's Ontario Theater, "The Ontario Theatre's Many Past Lives." The theater was converted to a drug store and other retail a couple decades ago.

From the history I learned about Carlos Rosario, who has a school named after him. He was one of the founders of the DC Government Office of Latino Affairs, and owned the theater for a time.

Rosario showed Spanish language movies on Sundays and during the week, the theater was managed by a guy named Seth Hurwitz. Well, Seth Hurwitz is the founder of the concert company IMP, which owns the 9:30 Club and manages the Meriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland and they would like to revive the Uline Arena as a concert hall. At the time Hurwitz was a radio DJ and did booking at the Ontario--music acts and movies. From that he grew a business.


There is a lot of great history in the buildings in our commercial districts (as Alex Wall says, "commerce is the engine of urbanism") and it is too easily forgotten, especially as retail business "chains up" and the key decision makers are located elsewhere, outside of a locality or region.

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