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Movie Theatres of Chester, SC

Powell Theater

Now houses The Chester Little Theater, Chester, SC - Photo taken in 2002

We are endebted to Mrs. Malcolm L. Marion, Jr., of Chester, for much of this information. She conducted extensive research on buildings in Chester. She related to us the tragedy of the 1929 fire at the local library in which many issues of The Chester Reporter were destroyed.

In a diary, kept by Kate Gaston Davidson of Chester, Mrs. Marion found an entry of interest. On October 7, 1913, Mrs. Davidson wrote, "Bobby shed some tears over not going to the moving pictures last night. It's our rule not to go on school nights, but he's heard this was something 'extra.'" So, we can be fairly certain that movies were shown in Chester before 1913.

Advertisements for the Dreamland Theatre can be found in surviving issues of The Chester Reporter from 1915 through 1919 (see below right). According to Mrs. Marion's research, Hill's Dreamland Theatre is listed at 103 Wylie Street in the City Directories 1920-1921 and 1924-1925. Roland G. Hill of Greensboro, NC, is listed as proprietor.

In the late 1920's or early 1930's, Mr. Joseph Wlaters ran the Dreamland Theatre. He changed the name from Dreamland Theatre to The City Theatre. Around 1935, Mr. Fred J. Powell moved to Chester. He bought The City Theatre. In 1939, Powell built a new movie theatre at 163 Main Street. He named this the Chester Theatre. It had an adjoining soda shop.

Mr. Powell renovated The City Theatre on Wylie Street and called it the Powell Theatre. For a short time, he also operated a small theatre at 127 Gadsden Street called the Palmetto Theatre. The Chester Theatre on Main Street was demolished around 1969.

The Powell Theatre
103 Wylie Street

This was the location of the
Dreamland Theatre, later named
the City Theatre

An advertisement for the Dreamland Theatre in the
Chester newspaper dated November, 2, 1915.

"An All-Round Mistake" was a two-reel silent comedy directed by George Lessey for Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP).

"The Woman Who Lied" was a drama directed by Lucius Henderson for the Victor Film Company. It starred William Heidloff and Edna Hunter.


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