Capitol Center located at 123 Summers Street, in
downtown Charleston, W.V. serves as an off-campus site for University classes and cultural
activities. It is a fully equipped 600-seat proscenium theatre with five classrooms, and an art gallery.
It serves as a home to several community theater groups and other community events.
The Capitol Center building is a early 20th century theater/commercial/office building "characterized by eclectic
Classical Revival style architecture, incorporating a number of elements from classical Greek forms on its easterly facade."1
Formerly known as the Capitol Plaza Theatre (and Capitol Plaza Music Hall), the theatre was opened in 1912
as the Plaza Theatre hosting vaudeville entertainment and novel attractions. In 1919, it was sold to United Theatre
After remodeling which included the installation of a Wurlitzer pipe organ and a projector room (for silent
movies), the theatre reopened in 1921
as the Capitol Theatre. The theater suffered a fire on November 15, 1923 in which the roof of the
auditorium collapsed. The owners rebuilt and later rewired the theatre for sound (the "talkies") in the
late 1920s. The original theater marquee located above an arched and vaulted entrance was completely changed in 1956,
when a 30-foot electrical sign/marquee was placed directly over the entrance and the vault removed.2
The Capitol Theatre closed in 1982, but reopened in 1985 as the Capitol Plaza Theater part of the
Charleston Urban Renewal Authority 's redevelopment plan as a community performing arts center. The theater
served as the former home for "Mountain Stage," a live performace radio show broadcast by West Virginia Public
In 1991, the building was given to West Virginia State College (now University) to extend its educational and
cultural programs into the downtown community.
References: 1, 2 Plaza Theatre Nomination Form to the National Register of Historic Places (linked above).
Additional information and photographs are on Jerry Waters site: http:www.mywvhome.com on the subpage, The Plaza Theater
and links from that page (surprising answer), and the Capitol Theater page.