Tag Archives: Georgia Theatres & Auditoriums

Municipal Auditorium, 1915, Albany

As Albany grew, cultural events became more prominent in the community. These pursuits were led by Dr. N. A. Duncan, a native of Syracuse, New York, who purchased a plantation near Albany in 1888. Dr. Duncan formed the Albany Chautauqua Society and his work in promoting the movement culminated in the construction of the Municipal Auditorium in 1915. Atlanta architect A. Ten Eyck Brown created a radically progressive design for the structure. With its large blank walls punctuated by smaller windows, the space was very unusual and “modern” for its time.

The auditorium was abandoned in 1972. After much-needed renovations, it reopened in 1990, with native son Ray Charles headlining the event.

National Register of Historic Places

Bridge House, Circa 1857, Albany

This unassuming structure on the banks of the Flint River in downtown Albany is significant as the only surviving bridge house in Georgia, a relic of a time when bridges were huge moneymakers for those who financed them. This example was commissioned by the Connecticut-born entrepreneur and founder of Albany, Nelson Tift, circa 1857-1858. The second floor was known as Tift’s Hall and served as a concert and performance space.

An even greater aspect of the structure’s significance is that it, and the bridge it served, were built by Horace King, who rose from slavery to become a highly successful architect and Reconstruction-era Alabama state representative. He was one of the most respected men of color in the 19th-century South.

The Bridge House was purchased by A .P. Keenan in 1916 and served a commercial use for much of the 20th century, first as the Empire Smithing Company and later as Keenan Auto Parts. Since 2008, it has been home to the Albany Welcome Center.

National Register of Historic Places

Robert Byrd Wright, Jr., House, 1961, Moultrie

This imposing villa was built by the nationally-renowned Moultrie architect William Frank McCall, Jr., for his friend Robert Byrd “Brother” Wright, Jr. It is more than just an unusually formal home for South Georgia; its facade was rescued from the old Paramount Theatre, an Atlanta landmark designed by the great classicist Philip Trammell Shutze. The Paramount, which opened in 1920 as the Howard Theatre, was demolished in 1960. A wonderful book about the house and its quirky history, Twice Told Tales of a Southern Palazzo, was written by McCall’s nephew, John Clark McCall, Jr. John has been a delightful correspondent and very helpful in sharing the legacy of his uncle Frank.

Grand Theatre, 1924, Cartersville

 
Cartersville Downtown Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Lanier Building, 1884, West Point

When constructed by brothers Lanier and Ward Crockett Lanier in 1884, this commercial block was the tallest building in town, at three stories. A bank and several other businesses occupied the first floor. The general offices of the West Point Manufacturing Company were located on the second floor until the 1950s. The third floor served as the city’s 600-seat opera house; it was destroyed by a tornado on 28 March 1920 and was never rebuilt.

West Point Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

 

Glenwood High School, 1920, 1933 & 1951, Wheeler County

In addition to an annex behind the original schoolhouse, the campus of the old Glenwood High School has a slightly more modern auditorium (above) built in 1951.

The original building is a one-story Spanish Mission Revival structure (not pictured due to inability to access) built in 1920; the two-story annex (above) was added between 1930-1933. In recent years, it has served as the campus for the Transitional Alternative Prep School.

National Register of Historic Places

 

Maddox Building, 1902, Winder

This multi-use commercial building may be Winder’s most recognizable and has recently been restored. It may be best remembered as the home of the Peoples Bank but has also been home to a theatre and other businesses over the years.

Broad Street Commercial Historic District, National Register of Historic Places

Habersham Theatre, 1937, Clarkesville

This Art Deco movie house was built in 1937; the building may date to 1920 with an earlier use and appearance. It has recently been restored and is now known as the Habersham Community Theater.

Mount Airy School, 1921

The wonderful old Mount Airy School has been restored and now houses the offices of the Mount Airy Police Department and the Georgia Crime Information Center. An auditorium on the upper level served as the entertainment center for the area and hosted traveling shows, including many early stars of the Grand Ole Opry. The school closed in 1955.

Ritz Theatre, 1899, Brunswick

Originally home to the offices of the Brunswick & Birmingham Railroad and the Grand Opera House, the historic Ritz Theatre is a preservation success story. Thanks to the efforts of Heather Heath and the Golden Isles Arts & Humanities Association and the Fox Theatre Institute, the Ritz has returned to its rightful place as a cultural anchor for downtown Brunswick.

Brunswick Old Town Historic District, National Register of Historic Places