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Too Many Theaters - Too Little Time

On The Road - May 12 -21, 2009
We just returned from a 1,560 mile road trip through North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. It was a long-overdue vacation. We just couldn't help looking for old movie theaters along the way. While these are not old movie theaters of South Carolina, we hope you enjoy these gems we found on the byways in surrounding states.

Spruce Pine, North Carolina

We would have enjoyed getting inside this theater but it wasn't open when we were there. From Cinema Treasures we learned that the Carolina Theater, built in 1937, hosted a live show called Carolina Barn Dance in the 1940's and 1950's as well as showing movies. Carolina Offical web site CLICK HERE
For more photos and information, click on the photo or CLICK HERE


Burnsville, North Carolina

Our friends, Bennie and Pauline, took us to Burnsville on Friday, May 15, 2009. We saw the Yancey Theatre but didn't photograph it because a thunderstorm started just as we arrived in town. We did learn that the Yancey Theatre is still in operation. It is a single screen movie theater that opened on August 17, 1939. The owner, Alvin Kennedy promises "...the best films for family viewing in a safe, clean environment."

Yancey Theatre official web site CLICK HERE
For a larger view click on photo at right or CLICK HERE


Harriman, Tennessee

This turned out to be a major highlight of our road trip. What evolved was exciting, unexpected, and full of irony. We stopped in Harriman, on a whim. I hadn't been there over fifty years, and wondered how much the town had changed. Back then, Harriman was the eastern terminus of the Tennessee Central Railroad passenger service. I rode the last run of this historic rail line in 1952, and hadn't been back to Harriman since that day. Read what happened and learn about the promising future of the Princess Theater. As a friend said, "You can't make this stuff up!"
Click on the photo or CLICK HERE


Lebanon, Tennessee

We stopped in Lebanon on Sunday, May 17, 2009. As we drove around the town square, we noticed the Capitol Theater. We took several photos but didn't see anyone around who might tell us about the theater.

From Cinema Treasures, we learned that the Capitol Theater was possibly built in the 1950's. It is a very large theater that closed in the 1970's when a multi-screen theater opened in town. It is reported that a clause stated that the Capitol Theater building couldn't be used as a theater for 20 years after its closing. It sustained water damage from a fire around 1981 which destroyed a hotel located next door. For more photos of the Capitol Theater CLICK HERE.


Canton, Georgia

The Canton Theatre in Canton, Georgia dates back to around 1911. It underwent a major remodeling in the late 1930's and a restoration in the late 1990's. It is now used for live perfomances. The resident community theater group is Cherokee Theatre.

Cinema Treasures link on the Canton Theatre


Washington, Georgia

One of the great joys of traveling small highways is the discovery of a unique experience. So it was when we slipped off of U.S. 78, and stopped in Washington, Georgia. This town is filled with beautiful Antebellum homes. The town square is surrounded by interesting buildings and has witnessed a wealth of history. Just off the square, we spotted the "Retro" marquee. It isn't an old movie theater but we had to check it out. It is a cinema with digital projection and 5.1 Dolby surround sound; a bookstore filled with an interesting range of titles; and a comfortable wine bar filled with Hollywood and movie memorabilia.

Retro Cinema & Books official web site CLICK HERE

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