On July 24, 1924 when the Met opened its doors, it was billed as “West Virginia's most beautiful playhouse”. Opening night featured “Seven Acts of Vaudeville,” and for the next seven decades it remained the focus of Morgantown's cultural life and enormously enriched the community. A long impressive playbill testifies to the vast number of artists and actors who have appeared on the stage such as Vaudeville; the traveling road shows of Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Helen Hayes, and many others. Additionally, West Virginia University drama productions, dance recitals, graduation ceremonies and a host of other community activities testify to the importance this theatre played in everyday community life.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, the Metropolitan Theatre is a contributing structure in the Downtown Morgantown Historic District, and is one of the better surviving examples of neoclassical revival architecture in the region.
By 1987 changing fortunes reduced the Met to a second-run movie theatre but the building's falling plaster and other frailties precluded even that level of operation. A victim of age, competition from new malls with free parking, and general neglect the theatre closed for good that year and was put up for sale.
That was then; this is now. The Metropolitan Theatre Foundation's board of directors, city, county, and state leaders, and even groups of school children have all committed to restoring this part of American heritage. Significant steps have been taken toward restoring an historically significant theatre and preserving this precious part of our American heritage and culture for future generations.