Hamrick Theatre

306 N. Limestone Street,
Gaffney, SC 29340

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Additional Info

Architects: Charles Collins Benton

Styles: Art Deco, Spanish Renaissance

Previous Names: New Theatre

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The New Theatre was located on North Limestone Street, next to the Cherokee (later the Capri) Theatre. It opened on April 12, 1930 with Evelyn Brent in “Fast Company”. It was renamed Hamrick Theatre on June 10, 1930. It was closed on January 4, 1969. It was demolished in May 1988.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

dallasmovietheaters on May 15, 2015 at 4:34 am

Lyman A. Hamrick’s $60,000 “New Theatre” architected by Charles Collins Benton had 780 seats at its April 12, 1930 launch playing, “Fast Company” on its 19'x28' screen and Gaffney Mayor Victor Lipscomb dedicating the theatre. On June 10, 1930, the theatre began advertising as the Hamrick Theatre which it retained until closing on January 4, 1969. Many preservation efforts were made up until the theater’s demolition in May of 1988. But with a large hole in its roof, the building’s neglect for nearly twenty years was too extensive to overcome.

At opening, the cream colored deco building with green trim stood out with the bronze lettering spelling out “Comedy” and “Drama” at left (see photo) and “Music” and “Art” at right. The theater’s Spanish Renaissance interior had a rough quality to it. The theater was designed with Vitaphone sound in mind and would also feature Western Electric sound on film from the outset. The adjoining Chatterbox Soda Fountain was where snacks for the movie would be purchased until an interior concession stand was added in 1954. Also in 1954, the theater played its first 3D show in “The Creature from the Black Lagoon.”

The theater only had two managers with its second manager, G.G. Humphries managing it for more than 35 years and one employee in Jim Gibson who was there for almost the entire theater run of nearly 39 years. A festive last day on January 4, 1969 had films, “A Twist of Sand,” “Five Million Years to Earth,” and “The Viking Queen” along with live music on the stage of “The Fantastic Five.” The theater was neglected after its closing as the roof over the auditorium developed leaks that would hamper the many attempts to salvage the building. A desperate preservation plan was scuttled in April of 1988 and the building razed in May of 1988.

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