Gem Theatre

111 W. First Street,
Kannapolis, NC 28081

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Showing 51 - 75 of 87 comments

BobFurmanek on March 7, 2007 at 3:55 am

The King plays the Gem, circa 1963:

View link

It’s a nice use of a cut out from the 24 sheet for IT HAPPENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR.

Patsy on December 21, 2006 at 2:59 pm

And that marquee is just the best example of art deco that I’ve seen in NC and still shining brightly every night in 2006 soon to be 2007!

Patsy on December 21, 2006 at 2:58 pm

Ironic that a building has been demolished in the background of the photo you posted above. I sincerely hope that the Gem never sees or meets that fate…heaven forbid. And I would guess that the building in the background may be part of the Cannon towel complex that was Kannapolis!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on December 21, 2006 at 2:55 pm

Another recent photo of the Gem Theater can be seen here.

ghamilton on December 21, 2006 at 2:53 pm

Theaters like this-and the bigger,grander Byrd in Richmond-must be “treasured”,used,talked up,and used as often as possible.I wish I had a nickel for everytime I’ve told people to go to the Byrd for a NEW experience(for most).This theater ib Cannon Villiage should be viable,but don’t be complacent.The ONE item I wish this site offered would be a seperate list of REAL theaters that still show scheduled shows.Movie palaces are a rare thing now,we need to know where the active ones are w/o plowing through lists of vacant lots.

ncmark on December 21, 2006 at 2:26 pm

This is a great theater that seems to be frozen in time. Inside and out everything seems original. I hope it can hang on as Kannapolis changes. Make a point to see a movie in this theater for an old time experience. I only wish the balcony was open for all shows. Usually it’s only open for larger crowds.

ktowncountrysinger on November 9, 2006 at 12:37 pm

I found this page by accident while searching for history on the Gem Theater. Thanks to everyone for their posts and pics. BTW Eagle Gallery – Great Stuff!!! The Gem Theater is an awseome treasure for the City of Kannapolis. I only hope that the realize it before it’s too late. The Gem has great prices, great atmosphere and great people. It’s like stepping back in time. I am sad to report that the Dixie Theater (Table Supply Grocery) is no more. I was totally shocked driving in to town last week to see that it had been erased. Almost as if it had never existed. Rumor has it that the property will be home to a new Eckerd store. Eckerd built a new store less than a mile from that corner a few years ago, but the Bio-Tech campus wanted their property and money talks. Bearing that in mind and how swiftly the Dixie was demolished, I fear not ony for the Gem Theater but the entire down town area of Kannapolis. It seems as though the City has take the side of “progress” over the pride of the past. Very unfortunate.

Patsy on October 8, 2006 at 11:01 am

EagleArtGallery: Thanks for the Gem update and I shall take a look-see at your website again though the site was slow in responding this a.m.

eagleart on July 21, 2006 at 1:06 am

I do not have a studio but the website is pretty much my portfolio.

Patsy on July 19, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Do you only do pen and ink? And do you have a studio that I could visit in Kannapolis?

eagleart on July 19, 2006 at 2:28 pm

I am a local artist in Kannapolis, and I am working on a pen and ink drawing of “A Gem”. You can see the progress at and pre-order a copy.

longislandmovies on July 7, 2006 at 2:24 am

What a nice theater!

Patsy on July 7, 2006 at 1:43 am

This theatre is known as a survivor!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on July 6, 2006 at 9:54 pm

Here is another recent 2006 photo of the Gem theater.

Patsy on May 23, 2006 at 12:17 am

I have visited this theatre and met the owner/manager. The Gem is what I refer to as a survivor as is sometimes the term used to describe classic cars that have survived the years well.

pote1995 on May 22, 2006 at 10:14 am

The theater in North Kannapolis was the “Main” on Cannon Blvd (US 29). Admission was 10/15 cents in early 60’s. Could get 10 hotdogs for a dollar at a cafe down the street. Was a great time/place to be a kid in early 60’s at K-town.

Patsy on April 16, 2006 at 9:54 pm

A great photo of a great original art deco marquee in NC!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 16, 2006 at 5:58 pm

This is a recent night view of the Gem theater.

RHarmon on December 28, 2005 at 11:51 am

I worked at the Gem Theatre (as many others did) while I was in high school in the mid-70s. It is truly a wonderful place. Originally, there were stage shows there and it is equipped with a full sized stage (not visible due to the screen and it’s frame supports) and also a basement that had dressing rooms for the performers. The history of this building is fabulous. I do hope that it is able to remain as a historical part of Kannapolis. My family and I attend movies there frequently (yes, first run, went to Chronicles of Narnia this weekend) and it is a much better experience than the multi-plexes. There were many other theaters in Kannapolis. The Swanee is now the Visitors Center. I went to movies there frequently in the early 70s, then there was the Palace (which was considered the black theater during segregation). It is located across from Kannapolis Middle School (not the new one) near A.L. Brown High School. There was the Dixie ( I believe it is now the Table Supply Grocery Store) and one other who’s name I can’t remember that was located in North Kannapolis. Also, on North Cannon Blvd at the corner of Jackson Street is a Shoe Depot that is in another old theater building. Yes, Kannapolis is changing with the destruction of Cannon Mills (I also worked there while in College) but hopefully the renovation of the town with new industry (bio-tech) will bring more jobs. The Gem is definitely a highlight in Kannapolis, and I STRONGLY encourage everyone to visit there.

ghamilton on October 16, 2005 at 6:38 pm

Thanks,TA,I’ll take a camera and look closer next time.

UAGirl on October 16, 2005 at 6:26 pm


There were several theatres in downtown Concord. Unfortunately none of the building have retained their original facades. First Charter Bank houses it’s security offices in what used to be the Cabarrus Theatre. That is the theatre with the movie star signed charter (or plague as it is referred to) hanging in the main entrance. After 9/11 the front door became password protected thus making it impossible for anyone to see a neat part of Concord’s film history.
This theatre was originally called the Paramount whenever it was located across the street in what is now the closed “Union Street Mall”. Earlier on this year the feds had deemed it a historical landmark and I believe that they have begun renovation that recently has run into a halt status. Right beside of this Union Street Mall is a lovely little white building that houses the City of Concord Zoning/Planning office. That was the Star Theatre. Note the three projectionist windows that angle the incoming light down so that it would not shine into the theatre.

Further down the street (and since my track record is rather off concerning the exact addresses) there was the Pastime Theatre, The New Piedmont Theatre, the Theatorium, and the Lincoln Theatre located just off of Union street.

Hope that helps!

PS: If you go to the history room in the Concord Library you can find tons of photos concerning the theatres,

Patsy on September 8, 2005 at 10:06 pm

ghamilton: Yes, there was a theatre in Concord and it is talked about somewhere on CT, but I’ll have to find it. As I recall it would be hard to find as, I think, it is a bank now and there is a plaque about the theatre in the bank’s lobby.

ghamilton on September 8, 2005 at 9:42 pm

Patsy,what happened to the old theater in downtown Concord?An old guy in Richmond claimed there was a nice theater in Concord in the 50-60’s.I drove down every street and saw no evidence of one .

Patsy on September 8, 2005 at 12:45 am

ghamilton: It was interesting to read your post concerning the Gem, Cannon Village Visitor Center, Cannon Mills and the grocery store theatre as I’ve been to this area and have seen all of this. I agree it is very depressing to see the Cannon factories come down and I recall the Cannon towel outlet store that was so nice. In fact, the entire Cannon Village was very active with shoppers at one time. The Gem Theatre is just around the corner from all of these former stores and it’s good to see it’s still hanging on as nearby Concord has the multi-plexes which is tough competition in today’s world. I’ve walked inside that grocery store/former theatre and talked to an older lady at the cash register. She recalled the many times that she went there to see movies as a young girl.

ghamilton on September 7, 2005 at 11:09 pm

Drove by these theaters twice in the last week.The Gem is showing Transporter 2.The closeby other theater around the corner and down a block is the CannonVillage visitors center.It is a beautiful building of a somewhat Georgian style matching the rest of this unique shopping area.The pathos of the area really bummed me out.The half dozen or so HUMONGOUS Cannon factories are being demolished.This devastation is all of our faults,since too many of us would rather pay a few cents less for a crummy import that won’t last half as long while a way of life disappears and our real jobs go to china and pakistan.Oh,yeh,the grocery store theater is a very well-built,handsome building at the corner of S.Main and Dale Earnhart Blvd.