5. Art Theater
Located down the street from the Cecil Spooner and Boulevard Theatres, the Art Theater opened in 1914. It was a hybrid building, combining a 600-seat theater with stores and an open-air theater with room for about 800 patrons. Its most distinctive architectural feature is its decorative busts on the façade.
It later became Teatro Art, a Spanish language cinema, which in turn was eventually replaced by a Protestant church. Although some of the storefront space is actively used, the church left several years ago and unfortunately the distinctive ornament is in a state of disrepair.
The Art Theater is the work of Swiss-born architect Paul B. LaVelle, who trained at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. LaVelle is notable for later employing and mentoring Hilyard Robinson, the first African-American to earn an architecture degree at Columbia University, who went on to become a leading architect in Washington, DC.