Belmont Theatre

115 East Belmont Street,
Pensacola, FL 32501

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Open from at least 1906 to at least 1960 in the Long Hollow neighorhood. The building was damaged by fire circa 1945. It started as a music venue and became an eventual movie theater. The theater was owned by whites, (including at one point Clinton Vucovich) during segregation, but initially catered to an all African-American audience.

It was part of the Southern Consolidated Circuit from 1916 until 1920. It became an important stop in the Managers' and Performers' Circuit in 1922 and 0n August 1, 1922 the theater “opened [its] doors to white patrons”, but in a reversal of normal segregation conventions, whites were required to sit in the balcony, while African-American patrons occupied the first floor!

Jelly Roll Morton played regulary at the Belmont from 1906 to 1908. Other early performers included Bessie Smith, Ida Cox and Pensacola native Billie Pierce.

Contributed by Chief Bob Jensen
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