Capitol Theatre

531 Church Street,
Nashville, TN 37219

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Crescent Amusement Co.

Architects: Joseph W. Holman, Thomas Marr

Firms: Marr & Holman

Styles: Oriental

Nearby Theaters

Capitol Theatre, Nashville, TN in 1926

The Capitol Theatre was opened by the Crescent Amusement Company on April 19, 1926 with Richard Dix in “Let’s Get Married” plus vaudeville. It was equipped with a theatre pipe organ. It was destroyed by fire on March 16, 1929.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

silverwrench on March 27, 2013 at 10:34 am

I am looking for theaters in downtown Nashville Tn 1960’s
thankyou Butch

DavePrice on March 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

Butch: The Paramount, the Tennessee, Loew’s and the “New Princess” were all operating during the 1960s. The New Princess was for a time called the Cinerama and after Loew’s burned in 1967, they took over the New Princess and called it Loew’s Crescent. I know the Fifth Avenue was out of business before the sixties but I cannot remember when the Knickerbocker closed. Some other oldster ought to chime in here on this.

DavePrice on March 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

TheatreOrgan: I just noticed you mentioned Leon Cole- I think it was spelled without the S – He was a very well-known organist around here in my youth, played the Centennial Park concerts etc. I believe he had a son who was killed in the war. Very talented musician.

Somewhere there is a mention of a “talkie” sound system being bought for the Capitol about the time it burned and the system then being installed in the Fifth Avenue.

rivest266 on June 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm

Grand opening ad:

Found on

rivest266 on June 27, 2017 at 1:46 pm

This opened on April 19th, 1926.

DavePrice on July 26, 2020 at 6:43 pm

There was a comment on the Paramount page about the Capitol.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on September 6, 2023 at 6:05 am

Excerpts from the Nashville Banner newspaper, March 16, 1929, page 1


Capitol Theater Destroyed – Station WBAW and Other Tenants of Odd Fellows’ Building Sustain Losses – Firemen Hurt

Damage caused by the fire which started about 1 a.m. Saturday beneath the stage of the Capitol theater, at Sixth and Church, and ate its way through the four-story Odd Fellows building, may exceed $300,000.

The entire interior of the Capitol theater proper was destroyed leaving only the steel cross beams of the theater above the mass of charred debris that covered the first floor of the building. At 6 a.m. thin lines of smoke still arose from the maze of wreckage piled over the seats of the theater, and firemen, despite the danger of the floors above caving in, were digging through the tangled mass, in an effort to put out the smouldering (sic) embers.

The rear section of the building was burned to the fourth floor, leaving the second and third floors hanging perilously above the interior of the theater, supported by buckled beams and framework, most of which was partially burned…

…Capitol Theater, leased by the Crescent Amusement Company, including Vitaphone equipment, ventilating system and $35,000 pipe organ, damaged $100,000…

…The organ, one of the largest in the South (typical hyperbole, ed.) fell a victim to the fire shortly after it started. It was valued at $35,000 and was practically demolished. The long pipes, running almost two stories, were standing, but were bent and charred. The Vitaphone equipment, recently installed, was demolished, leaving only a shadow of black framework. The damage to this, together with the dame to the ventilating system of the theater, was estimated by Tony Sudedum at $90,000. The projecting equipment of the theater received considerable water damage and is said to be unfit for further use. Considering the equipment and accessories, the damage was said to be at least $100,000…

…Firemen were of the opinion that the building may be condemned as several of the steel beams had buckled, leaving the brick walls of the building without strong support. Parts of the upper floors swung downward, hanging apparently in the air, supported by two-by-fours that creaked under the strain.

The seats of the theater were literally covered with the fixtures that had adorned the theater, burned and charred framework that had crashed upon them, and with office supplies of all kinds that had tumbled with the floors.

Although origin of the fire is not known it is believed that it started from defective wiring beneath the stage of the theater. The stage, with the organ of the theater, were the first victims of the flames. No official statement on the cause of the fire was given out, but firemen of the first companies to arrive at the scene expressed the belief that it was the wiring under the stage that had first become ignited…

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on September 6, 2023 at 6:19 am

Based on the newspaper accounts that the Capitol was destroyed by fire in the early hours of Saturday March 16, 1929, the last film to play there would have been the now lost silent film “Dream of Love” starring Joan Crawford and Nils Asther. The newspaper advertisement on Friday March 15 indicates it was accompanied by “Hoods Orchestra.”

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on September 6, 2023 at 7:20 am

And while we’re at it, I found that the Capitol’s organ was built by local pipe organ serviceman James Rufus Hatch. Crescent Amusement and Tony Sudekum apparently never invested in top brand organs. Mr. Hatch had moved to Nashville in 1922 from Saint-Hyacinthe Quebec where he learned the organ trade. It is reasonable to assume he worked for Casavant Freres located there, which was (and still is) one of the most respected pipe organ building companies in North America. However, there is precious little record of any work that Mr. Hatch did beyond this one installation.

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