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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas and Theatres   » Missing Tennessee theatres

   
Author Topic: Missing Tennessee theatres
Jack Coursey
New Member

Posts: 34
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted March 29, 2005 07:45 PM      Profile for Jack Coursey   Email Jack Coursey         Edit/Delete Post 
Need street addresses as well as any other information (e.g. years of operation, seating capacity, number of screens, etc) on:
Alcoa & Dogwood Aloca
Aleazer Chattanooga
Bells & Roxy Alamo
Wintergarden Bells
Cameo, State & Isis Bristol
Lyric & Polk Columbia
Thanks!

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Ken Roe
Member

Posts: 66
From: London, England
Registered: May 2003


 - posted March 30, 2005 02:34 AM      Profile for Ken Roe   Author's Homepage   Email Ken Roe         Edit/Delete Post 
Details in the Film Daily Yearbooks that I have (1941, 1943 and 1950)

1941 edition
Alamo
Roxy - 200 seats (same in 1943)
Aloca
Aloca - 250 seats
Columbia
Lyric - 522 seats (same in 1943)

1943 edition
Bristol
State - 750 seats Operated by Paramount Pictures Inc, through their subsidairy Paramount-Wilby-Kincey Circuit (R.B.Wilby)

1950 edition
Alamo
Roxy - 320 seats
Columbia
Lyric - 400 seats

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Jack Coursey
New Member

Posts: 34
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted March 30, 2005 06:48 PM      Profile for Jack Coursey   Email Jack Coursey         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks. These theatres down in Columbia have apparently vanished from the face of the earth. I've made a couple of trips there and haven't been able to find anything regarding where they are/were located. Was there a street address listed on any of the records you came across?

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Ken Roe
Member

Posts: 66
From: London, England
Registered: May 2003


 - posted March 31, 2005 02:46 AM      Profile for Ken Roe   Author's Homepage   Email Ken Roe         Edit/Delete Post 
Sorry Jack. I gave details as they were published. F.D.Y. generally only give addresses of theatres in major cities.

The 1941 and '43 editions also have a Princess Theatre, Columbia with 750 seats.

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David Wodeyla
Member

Posts: 65
From: Natick, MA
Registered: Jun 2004


 - posted March 31, 2005 06:08 AM      Profile for David Wodeyla   Author's Homepage   Email David Wodeyla         Edit/Delete Post 
Jack, when you go next time, check in with the local library for old telephone books, or a newspaper microfilm reader.

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted March 31, 2005 06:13 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
Often, finding records of sturctures in smaller communities is a matter of going to the county seat and searching the records of the Register of Deeds, though these often are filed by the legal description of the land, so you must have at least a fairly good idea of the location of the once theatre before you can get the legal description. If the community was platted, then possibly they have the master plat of the entire county or township which will give you an idea of which legal description or address to ask for the records of.

If there is a local city hall or court house, it might contain records of older buildings, and if the community contracted out its building inspections to another nearby community, then that community may have the records, as the official legal custodian of them. If a particular insurnace company did most of the local fire insurance, they may have the Sanborn maps (if any) of the area or their own that will indicate theatres.

If there is a county or state historical society or state or university library, they may have older records that can be of help. Any vintage street or building photos may help isolate the location of a theatre if only by the names of nearby business' signs and thus help you know what exists on that spot today and thus get the address. The rural South had some of the least records of land, but you can never be sure what someone squirrled away in a back room somewhere. Finding land/buildng records is a slow business at best, but if you are determined, you will likely be rewarded. In the rural areas, the Film Daily Yearbook and the like often missed the very small operations, which were often converted stores or the like and thus never showed up on anyone's register of theatres/cinemas in the area, and thus may only appear in a local newspaper as such-and-such 'picture show' for a short span of years, and some of these never paid for any advertising; everyone thereabouts just knew about them. Some even had no outdoor advertising signs, especially if they had less than 100 seats, in which case many communities would not take notice of them as a place of public gathering, under any statutes that governed such, especially if they were open only irregularly. View the 1971 movie "The Last Picture Show" to get an idea of the nature and demise of such little places often ignored by the cities, and sometimes the film distributors as well.

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Jack Coursey
New Member

Posts: 34
From: Nashville, TN
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted March 31, 2005 06:21 PM      Profile for Jack Coursey   Email Jack Coursey         Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the info. I've had my best luck with the local libraries and with some of the local folk, but in that many of these theatres haven't been around for a generation or more, it can be just of a challange finding someone with any recall of these theatres in their respected communities.

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Jim Rankin
(Jim passed away in December 2006)
Posts: 123
From: Milwaukee, WI
Registered: Oct 2003


 - posted April 01, 2005 06:36 AM      Profile for Jim Rankin   Email Jim Rankin         Edit/Delete Post 
You're right that if a structure existed for less than a generation, it may have passed away with none but those of that generation remembering it. Still, if you want at least some indication of a property's existance, your best bet is the Register of Deeds, since all land must be registered as to owner, BUT that does not mean that the USE of the land was recorded nor any record kept of the improvements upon it, especially in rural areas. If you notice land records stating, say, "Improvements: $100.00" which later increases substantially, then it may well prove the existance of a cinema or other substantial structure, but there is often detail in the deeeds that describes the nature of the improvements (which is the rationale for higher taxes, hence improvements were often detailed in a legal way, as opposed to an architectural way).

Since counties do not usually regulate building construction, and where no township or village existed, then there may be no details of what a structure indicated in land deeds may have been like. Best Wishes.

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