Ritz Theatre

302 N. Patterson Street,
Valdosta, GA 31601

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Martin Theatres

Architects: Roy A. Benjamin

Styles: Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

Ritz Theatre, Valdosta, GA

The Ritz Theatre opened in 1926 for E.J. Sparks. All seating was on one level in the orchestra level. It was operated by the Martin Theatres chain in the 1940’s.

The Ritz Theatre was closed in May 1973.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

1234 on January 31, 2010 at 12:59 pm

The photo posted on 1/13/2010 is the photo of the the theatre published in “American Theatres of Today” which also features an interior shot of the theatre shortly after it opened.
On a note about the Alamo/Strand, on a recent visit to Valdosta it was discovered that the building is still standing, although there are retail spaces in the lower section of the building, it could be posssible that some remnants of the theatre remains in the upper sections of the building. Also there was for a time The Rex Theatre next door to the Alamo.

1234 on February 1, 2010 at 10:01 am

“American Theatres of Today” is available through the Theatre Historical Society as a new reprint. Also you might find the reprint that theVestal Press did back in the 70’s thru Amazon.com. or some online book sellers,the originals are hard to find.

AlfredWillis on April 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm

The Ritz occupied a mixed-use building of the sort much favored in the 1920s. Flanking the theatre foyer on the ground floor were retail shop spaces facing Patterson Street. Also overlooking the street were office spaces above the shops. It was in many respects a typical small-town southern theatre of its time.

theatreorganmana on October 13, 2010 at 9:54 am

Indeed, the Ritz featured retail shops on its street facade, including Ritz Fashions. This shop moved to 2235 N. Ashley Street in May, 1973. The Ritz showed its final film (“Book of Numbers” at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30,1973. The day after, the Cinema I and II theatres opened at Valdosta’s five points as a replacement for the venerable Ritz.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm

i visted the RITZ one time got a tour and took pictures .It was a playhouse at the time.

1234 on December 18, 2010 at 8:20 am

I have just posted in the Atlanta Chapter ATOS Dec. 2010 newsletter a brief story about some of the theatre’s in Valdosta, mainly the Ritz. Including then and now photo’s. Just google up the Atlanta Chapter ATOS and go to that newsletter. Hope you enjoy.

wally437 on June 7, 2013 at 9:34 am

The Ritz was the site of the 15th American Legion Convention in 1933. Meetings were held at the theater and evening events and dinners were held at the new post home at it’s current location on Williams St.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2015 at 3:22 am

An early notice about plans for the house that became the Ritz appeared in the May 1, 1926, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“Valdosta, Ga. to Have Fine Theatre in Venetian Motif

“THEY don’t call it ‘the sleepy South’ A any more, and Valdosta, Georgia, is right up where the wide-awakes belong when it comes to progressiveness — and so is the E. J. Sparks Enterprises with offices in Jacksonville, Florida.

“The two got together this way : E. J. Sparks knows theatre opportunities, Valdosta likes entertainment backed up by a perfectly equipped entertainment place.

“So E. J. Sparks had plans drawn by Roy A. Benjamin, architect, of Jacksonville, Florida, for a Venetian style theatre to seat 1,200 people on the main floor, without balcony.

“The theatre will be located at the corner of Paterson and South Jackson Avenues, Valdosta, and will be one of the finest theatres on the Atlantic seaboard.”

There does not appear to be a Jackson Avenue in Valdosta today. Perhaps it was an earlier name for Valley Street. The architecture of the facade of the Ritz definitely drew its inspiration from Venice, though, as can be seen by the row of windows on the second floor, and the ornate cornice and parapet.

Three photos of the Ritz, including one interior shot and one taken at the time of its demolition can be seen on this page at Facebook.

rivest266 on January 26, 2023 at 11:06 am

Closed in May 1973.

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