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American Theatre

Photo from the Scott Norwood collection
125 Mellen St E
Hampton VA

Live Theatre
Record #12510  
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: New American, Lee

Information for this tour was contributed by Daniel Gibbs.

The New American was built as the American in the 1910s as a silent film theatre and was operated from the mid 1920s through the 1970s as the Lee. It was re-opened as a very successful porn house and then as a combination dollar house/beer joint, which closed around 1996 or so. As the dollar house, most of its plasterwork was ripped out.

The theater was recently renovated ... the facade is completely new and not authentic, although it does resemble the one in older photos. The New American reopened in the spring of 1999 for live theatre productions. It does not appear that they have film capability; the film equipment was ripped out by the guy who ran it as a dollar house. The auditorium appears to be long and narrow and there is a balcony which at one time was walled off as a separate screen.

For the non-Virginian, Phoebus is a little town that's been swallowed by the city of Hampton. Nearby is the beautiful old Hotel Chamberlin -- anybody that likes old movie palaces will like the Chamberlin, too ... recently, it still had an elevator operator. You can sit on the porch and watch our Atlantic Fleet steam in and out of Norfolk.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

Photos from the Scott Norwood collection.

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Last featured 1/23/2005. Last edited 4/25/2013.

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