509 S. Evans Street,
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Previously operated by: ABC Southeastern Theatres, Plitt Theatres
Architects: Charles Collins Benton
Styles: Colonial Revival
A Colonial-style building, the Pitt Theatre opened in January 1935, operated by North Carolina Theatres. In later years the Pitt Theatre was operated by ABC Southeastern Theatres and finally by Plitt Southern Theatres.
This theater was destroyed by fire in August 1979 during a screening of “The Amityville Horror” starring James Brolin. A parking lot now occupies the site.
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Recent comments (view all 9 comments)
The red bricks attached to the Hooker & Buchanan Insurance building to the right of the parking lot were part of the Pitt Theatre.
The very last movie to play at the Pitt was “The Amityville Horror”. The theatre caught fire during the end credits of the film on the second evening show.I believe the date of the fire was August 13, 1979.
Tinseltoes: Thanks for the interior photo. About a year after that photo was taken the Pitt Theatre was converted to CinemaScope. By 1970 the Pitt’s interior was modernized and the balcony concealed following desegregation.
The seat count given above was for the Pitt Theatre prior to its modernization circa 1970, when the balcony was closed and concealed.
I was there with a date that night. The show stopped just before the finale and the manager came out and told everyone to use the exit at the left of the screen. We walked to the front from a side ally and the roof was already spilling smoke. About a half hour later the whole thing was engulfed. We stayed until about 3:00 am and watched it burn to the ground. To this day I’ve never seen the end of the Amityville Horror.
Picture from the 1957 ECU yearbook at link below:
Another picture from the 1960 ECU yearbook:
Was it known how the fire started? What is the carpark used for?
The parking lot is reserved parking for a complex called The Lofts On 5th Apartments, whose rear entrance as well as the entrance to Crossbones Tavern is at the back of the lot, inside an older A frame brick structure. Both those entrances were given an address of 507 S. Evans, and a one story building built in 1928 next door to the lot, today uses the former theatre’s address of 509. I’ve added a mid `60s photo with the Pitt Theatre marquee in the background center, but it had been modernized since the 1957 yearbook photos in the 2019 comments above. The neighboring Ridgeway’s Opticians and Rexall signs are unmistakable, as well as the shoe store’s presence. Also below is a link noting Charles C. Benton Sr. as the architect, as well as confirming the address, year built and demolished status.