Rogers Theatre

919 Market Street,
Chattanooga, TN 37402

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Wilby-Kincey

Architects: Erle G. Stillwell

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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Rogers Theatre

Touted as the showplace of Chattanooga, the Rogers Theatre was the definitive state of the art theatre in the region when it opened to the public on March 2, 1951 with Van Johnson in “Three Guys Named Mike”. The theatre closed in 1976 and was demolished in 1980.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

RICHARD1938 on April 24, 2006 at 7:09 am


WillardWood on November 8, 2006 at 11:19 am

Lost Memory, thanks for the article. I remember well the Krystal there, and also the train station (N,C, and StL) I believe the General was there until the state of Georgia had a favorable court order to force its move back into Georgia.

Shake_me on August 8, 2013 at 7:32 am

I remember as a little boy my dad took me to the Rogers to see “THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH” IT was 1952 and the ROGERS could seat 1250 and it was standing room only.It was like that in a lot of theaters back.then Chattanooga did not get a TV station until 1954 but even with that people still went to the movies and what a time we had.Later in life I owned my own Movie Theater I think that had something to do with it.

Granola on October 26, 2015 at 11:38 am



DavidZornig on October 17, 2019 at 7:20 pm

This history credit the Chattanoogan, a local publication. Courtesy the Chattanooga has History Facebook page.

In 1948, Eastenn Theaters announced plans for a new 1,250-seat cinema in the 900 block of Market Street. The land would be leased from the State of Georgia. At the time, Eastenn also operated the State (later called Martin) and Tivoli theaters. The new theater would be 60 feet wide, and would extended 200 feet to Broad Street. The main entrance would be on Market, but marquees announcing the current movie would be along both Market and Broad. In a departure from other downtown theaters, the movie house would have no balcony. The Wilby-Kincey Service Co. guided the construction, with Verhey Construction as general contractor, and J. W. Brooks providing the heat/air. Volunteer Neon Sign was in charge of the glowing signage.

Prior to the theater’s opening, it was announced that it would be named for Emmett R. Rogers, city manager for the Eastenn Theaters. Following his education at Chattanooga High School and the Art Institute of Chicago, and a brief stint as a reporter for the Chattanooga Times, Rogers began a career in the theater business in 1918. In 1921, he became the first manager of the Tivoli. He brought several innovations to theaters in the South, including lobby art, uniformed ushers, and pipe organs. In announcing that the theater would be named for Rogers, R. B. Wilby said, “While most of the time his residence has been in Chattanooga, his actual influence upon the industry has been country-wide.” Soon after the announcement of the theater’s name, a large crane arrived to lift its sign, with “ROGERS” in vertical letters, into place.

On March 2, 1951, the doors of the Rogers Theater swung open to welcome its first audience. Lured by newspaper ads that described the Rogers as “The South’s finest, ultra-modern motion picture theater,” customers had formed a line at the box office that wrapped around the block. Ushers handed out programs that included the Rogers’ mission statement: “To serve you is our intent; to please you our delight.” Chamber of Commerce president Alf Law, Mayor Hugh Wasson, and mayoral candidate Luther Masingill presided over the opening ceremony.

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