1213 U St NW

Minnehaha Theater opened in 1910 as the city's first silent moving picture theater. Today. the site is still home to Ben's Chili Bowl, iconic in the history of the neighborhood and city. Explore archival images of these establishments, courtesy of the George Washington University Library Special Collections; oral histories collected by Sonali Mirpuri with the Ben Ali family and Rayceen Pendarvis describing how Ben's Chili Bowl welcomed everyone. (You can also watch a presentation of Sonali Mirpuri's undergraduate honors thesis based on her research for this project.)

MinnehahaTheater1910
MinnehahaTheater1910

Minnehaha Theater in 1910. Courtesy George Washington Library Special Collections.

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Ben&VirginiaAli
Ben&VirginiaAli

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RebuildingBensMarch1991
RebuildingBensMarch1991

Rebuilding Ben's Chili Bowl in March 1991. Courtesy George Washington Library Special Collections.

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MinnehahaTheater1910
MinnehahaTheater1910

Minnehaha Theater in 1910. Courtesy George Washington Library Special Collections.

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Rayceen Pendarvis- Coexistence at Ben's Chili Bowl