Madison Theatre

496 Flat Shoals Avenue SE,
Atlanta, GA 30316

Unfavorite 5 people favorited this theater

Showing 26 - 37 of 37 comments

kimbe99606 on November 3, 2006 at 2:39 pm

Looks like a few others have had the same thought I have on this old theater. My mom and her siblings grew up in this area and she has fond memories of spending Saturdays at this theater watching movie after movie and sometimes “even coming home with some candy”. I have recently moved into the neighborhood and whole heartedly agree that it is a shame the state the place is in. It is centrally located in a great neighborhood that, in my opinion, would embrace it as a venue for live music and art house movies. Has someone started a preservation effort? And if so, how can I participate? $$ is not an option at the moment but I have plenty of time to put in. It’s the sort of project I would love to be a part of for the long term. If anyone is active on this please contact me at

schmoyd on September 14, 2006 at 10:36 am

I would love to chat sometime about the Madison. I’m trying to get some info together and it sounds like you’ve got a goldmine of history. Could you contact me?

schmoyd on August 6, 2006 at 10:57 am

I’d love to talk to her. Had the same idea myself. Don’t think it’s for sale right now but money talks they say. Might be a way to set up a foundation with a long-term lease. Thanks for the info and please forward my e to her ().

grace17 on August 6, 2006 at 9:55 am

I have a friend that is hoping to get a grant to restore the Madison for stage productions and movie showings among other things. She just doesn’t know who to contact about possibly purchasing the theater.

schmoyd on August 3, 2006 at 10:33 am

I’ve heard that the property is under lease by a former tenant but they want to sublet. Real estate folks say it’d take about $500k to get building up to code. I think it’d be a terrific asset to the area as an arthouse/public theater showing films and hosting events. Wondering if there are other souls who agree?

grace17 on August 3, 2006 at 8:10 am

Is it possible that the Madison is up for sale, since the restoration is on hold?

theatreorganmana on October 27, 2005 at 7:38 pm

Thank you, Don! I am slowly but surely trying to add to the body of knowledge, especially in the area of Georgia theatres. My last contact with someone knowledgeable about the Madison indicated that the restoration effort has come to naught.

I even went to a revival meeting there under the guise of writing a paper for my graduate class, “The Sociology of Religion” (at GSU), so that I could see the auditorium. I was amazed at its good condition (this was around 1978-79), and the lovely detail and ornamentation that still existed!

Don K.
Don K. on October 27, 2005 at 6:34 pm

John – Thank you very much for sharing this information with us! Wonderful research! Having attended both the Madison Theatre and the Buckhead Theatre when I was growing up in the 1950’s and 1960’s, it’s not surprising to learn that both theatres were designed by the same architectural firm. Hope you can give us more information on Atlanta’s surviving vintage theatres and it’s long gone ones, as well!

Now, if only someone would fill us in on the current plans to renovate this theatre!

theatreorganmana on October 27, 2005 at 4:42 pm

The Madison Theatre was designed by Daniell and Beutell, Architects, who had their offices in the Healey Building in downtown Atlanta. They were also architects for the Buckhead Theatre, Atlanta, and the Grand, in nearby Cartersville, GA. Joe A. Fernandez served as painter/decorator.

The opening of the theatre, on July 2, 1927, featured Hoot Gibson on the screen in “The Buckaroo Kid” and a personal appearance by silent film star Ethlyne Claire Williamson. A small reproduco organ was installed in the theatre. Whether it utilized the two organ chambers to the left and right of the proscenium is unknown to this author.

The architecture of the Madison demonstrates how even smaller houses in the twenties could wow patrons. It is of the “Spanish Drip Castle” variety and features a multi-colored half tile roof, pierced by two large arched balconettes at the second level. A series of five connected arched windows appear on this same level above the marquee. Many of these design devices appeared in similar form on the Buckhead Theatre which was the first purpose-built theatre for sound films in Atlanta. The Buckhead opened after the Madison, on June 2, 1930.

Don K.
Don K. on May 25, 2005 at 8:24 pm

Well, I certainly remember the Madison Theatre as a movie house. It was one a group of neighborhood theaters on Atlanta’s east side that my dad took me to when I was a kid. Although I didn’t attend the Madison as frequently as I did the Decatur, the Euclid, the Plaza, the Hilan, the Kirkwood, and the Glen, I remember the Madison very well. The Madison stayed in business into the mid 1960’s, as I recall. The neighborhood was changing a great deal by that time. So, I imagine it closed sometime in the ‘60’s.

When visiting Atlanta, I’ve seen this theater a few times over the years. It looked rather sad all boarded up. I’m glad to know that it is being restored and I’ll be interested to know what they do with it.

JackCoursey on May 2, 2005 at 9:14 pm

The seating I quoted was from an article on the restoration of the theatre and what the projected seating would be once the project was complete. I’ll go with the FDY on this one.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 2, 2005 at 11:47 am

Listed in Film Daily Yearbook’s 1941-1950 (editions that I have) with a seating capacity of 600.