On Saturday, August 13, 2011, the Valentine Richmond History Center presents its third annual Lesbian and Gay History Bus Tour. Leading up to the event, GayRVA.com will feature vintage photos from Beth Marshack’s “Lesbian & Gay Richmond” mirrored with images of the city today.
Opened in 1914, the Hippodrome Theater was a Jackson Ward venue where many artists, originally from Harlem, performed while using gay/lesbian material or costumes. It attracted a large African American audience due to its locality. In 1945, the interior of the building caught fire. The inside was gutted and redesigned, primarily being used as a movie theater. The theater closed in 1967, reopened and closed again in 1970 when it became a church. It reopened again in 1982 but has seen little use since then.
The Hippodrome is currently undergoing a $3 million renovation. The renovation will recreate the theater’s 1930’s style with regularly scheduled R&B performances. The theater will be used for live entertainment, special events, banquet service, full service dining and VIP night club. Also, check out the newly renovated Taylor Mansion, located next door, for full service southern cuisine. Both venues are expected to reopen this summer.
Photos from Valentine Richmond History Center & Gillan Ludlow