Gem Theatre

22 W. Court Square,
Newnan, GA 30263

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Lam Operating Company

Architects: Albert Howell, McKendree A. Tucker

Firms: Tucker & Howell

Functions: Café

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Palace Theatre, Alamo Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Gem Theatre

The Palace Theatre was a small, narrow theater from the silent era, which opened by 1911. By 1916 it had been renamed Alamo Theatre and this operated until 1928. It was acquired in the early-1930’s by Oscar Lam of Lam Amusements. In 1934, he hired the Atlanta architectural firm of Tucker & Howell to do a complete remodeling of the house. The newly transformed Gem Theatre reopened on November 19, 1934 and was featured in an article in the January 12, 1935, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. It was closed in the 1950’s.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2009 at 1:50 am

Alas, Google Maps offers four choices for that address- North, South, East, and West Court Square. Google Street View’s truck only went down the west side of the square. Fortunately, on the west side of the square is a night club called The Alamo, which occupies an old theatre. Unfortunately, its address is 19 W. Court Square, which being an odd number means it’s not on the same side of the square as 22 Court Square would be. It’s not the Gem.

The 1935 Boxoffice item I cited in the intro for the Gem has a photo of the front, and it was in a mid-block building, while the Alamo is on a corner. The Alamo’s web site has an early photo of the theater it now occupies, and it was called the Alamo, not surprisingly. The building now has a modern marquee which probably dates from the 1940s or 1950s.

The web site also has a newspaper article about the club, but it’s too small to read easily. The Alamo Theatre apparently opened in 1928 in former retail space, and was converted back to retail space in (it looks like) 1969. It. too, should be listed in FDY.

So we have a second theatre in Newnan, but still don’t know the fate of the Gem, or its exact location. Looking down the north and south sides of the square with Street View, I can’t see any building resembling the Boxoffice photo of the Gem, so I’d guess it was on the east side, which is the side you can’t see with Street View, and one of the sides (along with the north, most likely) which has even numbered addresses. Thus we can’t be sure if it’s been demolished or not.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 3, 2009 at 2:00 am

D'OH! The Alamo Theatre is already listed here. That will teach me (no, it probably won’t) to check such things before posting a comment. However, at least the Alamo’s web site reveals that the intro to the CT Alamo Theatre page has erroneous information, which can now be corrected.

Stogie on February 19, 2013 at 5:11 pm

The Gem Theatre was on the same side of the block as the Alamo…a few doors down. It was smaller and featured a lot of “B” cowboy movies on Saturdays (the Alamo did too). It closed around 1950-51 just before my family moved to Atlanta. The Alamo was a much nicer facility.

acdecoster on July 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Is the Gem demolished?

acdecoster on July 25, 2017 at 1:15 pm

“The Gem Theater was once located a few doors down from the Alamo’s current location. The theater opened during the era of silent films, and can be seen on a 1911 map labeled “moving pictures”. The movie theater featured one screen and 241 seats.” -

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2017 at 2:30 pm

acdecoster’s link says that the current occupant of the Gem Theatre’s space is a coffee shop called Leaf and Bean. Tucker & Howell’s stylish Art Deco front of 1934 has been removed and the building and its neighbor now share a rather bland brick facade. The correct address is 22 West Court Square. There’s a nice photo near the bottom of the page, apparently taken sometime in the 1950s after the Gem had closed but before the theatrical facade had been removed.

rivest266 on July 10, 2023 at 3:40 pm

Opened November 19th, 1934. Ad posted.

rivest266 on July 10, 2023 at 4:05 pm

Closed in 1951.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 10, 2023 at 7:51 pm

The Gem went back to at least as early as 1911, when a storefront labeled “Moving Pictures” appeared at 22 W. Court Square on the Sanborn fire insurance map. At that time, the theater occupied only half the width it would later occupy. At some point, it was expanded to the building’s central stairway. The 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory lists three movie houses at Newnan, those being the Halcyon, the Palace, and the Lyric. Only the Palace is listed with an address, and that address was 22 Court Square.

So we have an early name for this theater, the Palace, and the later name from the 1930s, the Gem, but what was it in between? Ads in The Newnan Herald in late 1916 tout the December 9 opening of the Alamo Theatre. Local sources claim that the current Alamo, at 19 West Court Square, opened there in 1928 in a building converted from retail space.

But there is an ad for the Hamrick & Couch grocery store which ran in The Newnan Herald of September 24, 1920. The ad gives the store’s location as 21 Court Square, “Next Door to Alamo Theatre.” 21 Court Square is not next door to today’s Alamo Theatre, at 19 Court Square. It is next door to the site of the Gem Theatre, at 22 Court Square. A July 2, 1920 ad for The Book Store soda fountain also tags itself as next door to the Alamo, and the Book Store’s address is 23 Court Square, which would be the other side of the theater from the grocery store. Those two ads confirm that the Alamo Theatre was at 22 West Court Square in 1920, which means it was almost certainly at that address from 1916 to 1928.

Palace Theatre and Alamo Theatre are both aka’s for the Gem.

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