Carolina Theatre

226 N. Tryon Street,
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Showing 126 - 150 of 152 comments

Patsy on March 9, 2005 at 1:47 pm

The Carolina did not burn down. The lobby area doesn’t exist, but the reason isn’t due to fire. “Although the corner retail section of the property was demolished many years ago, the original entry facade is intact and the theatre itself, known as an "atmospheric theatre” is intact. The interior is reminiscent of the Spanish Renaissance style, with balconies and murals suggesting the illusion of an exotic, open-air Mediterranean garden patio.“ This quote is taken from the first Carolina Theatre Palace newsletter Volume 1, Issue 1 Feb. 2005. The Carolina Theatre Preservation Society (CTPS) founded in 1997 is a non-profit organization that has fought passionately for the preservation of the Carolina Theatre. An interesting fact is that the only premiere of "Gone With the Wind” was held at the Carolina in addition to the Atlanta premiere.

Patsy on January 7, 2005 at 1:02 pm

Ross: I would like to see the complete Carolina Theatre information included at the top of this page rather than the word ‘unknown’ as most or all of the background information is included in several posts particularly the ones from KenRoe and Charlie C.

Patsy on December 12, 2004 at 7:16 am

The exact quote from the Carolina Theatre Timeline (Oct 1988) is “City Fair opens but work is halted due to escalating cost. City Fair has already gutted the building removing almost all the decorative and ornate objects from the theatre. The stage area is rebuilt to accommodate the planned seating area for the restaurant. Carly Capital Co. who owns City Fair talks city into de-listing theatre from local historic register. The steel beams that were needed for the restaurant would not fit through the old lobby so it had to be torn down.” Now this is truly unbelieveable and almost made me faint when I read it! In Sept 1982 the Carolina was placed on the local Historic Register only to be “de-listed” in 1988 so it was on the list for a short 6 years!

Patsy on December 12, 2004 at 6:47 am

The photo on this page unfortunately doesn’t show the portion of the theatre with it’s wonderful green Spanish tile slanted roof as trees are in the way so if you are in the Charlotte area and haven’t really looked at the original front roof facade of the Carolina that still exists, I urge you to stop and take a good long look. Thanks to Charlie C. he has shared with me some of the important Carolina history and now I know, in part, why the lobby section is gone……when City Fair was involved and going to go proceed with their plans for the theatre they needed to bring in some steel beams and in the process realized they couldn’t get them inside so they removed the lobby section! I can’t find the exact quote, but that comes close to what I read.

Patsy on December 12, 2004 at 6:40 am

Thomas: I can’t bring up the site you mentioned on June 2002 about the article that appeared in the Independent Tribune concerning the fund raiser for the Carolina. Perhaps you or Charlie C. can enlighten me about this and why there hasn’t been other fund raisers since then…’s time! I suppose the site isn’t available now because that fundraiser is old news, but a new fundraiser needs to be present news!

Patsy on December 10, 2004 at 2:43 pm

I was recently in Raleigh for the annual State Tree Lighting Ceremony and visited the Museum of History’s gift shop. I found a book on Charlotte with mention of the Carolina Theatre, but no photos. I’m hoping that Santa will bring this book on Christmas morning! HO HO HO!

Patsy on December 6, 2004 at 8:06 am

C.C. Hook is a prominent name in the history of Charlotte. I first came upon this name in connection with a beautiful fire station on S. Laurel Avenue. I went to the address and took a photo of this station and saw the brass plate on the wall with his name along with the year of construction. After speaking with the commander he told me that it had been one of the featured Dept. 56 stations and for good reason! While there they rec’d a call and the fire trucks rolled even though no men came down the brass poles that are still intact at the station! I know this isn’t theatre chat, so forgive me for getting off the main topic for a brief moment.

Patsy on December 6, 2004 at 7:32 am

Thanks KenRoe for the information you have on the Carolina. I read it through and what came back at me when describing the interior were…….“made all parts of Charlotte’s Carolina a feast for the eyes”. That interior is either gone or ruined beyond belief. I will have the rare opportunity to see inside the Carolina in the coming days thanks to Charlie Clayton, Carolina Theater Preservation Society so will see for myself then, but I’m sure a tear will form as I stand and gaze at what is before me. This theater MUST be saved and restored!

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 6, 2004 at 7:04 am

In an article published in the Theatre Historical Society of America quarterly magaizine ‘Marquee’ Vol 18 No 3 Third Quarter 1986>>>>>>> I quote;

‘Designed by R.E. Hall of New York and C.C. Hook of Charlotte, architects and engineers, the Carolina had 900 seats in the orchestra and 550 in the balcony. The design was generally Spanish Renaissance. The first note of this Spanish design came with the box office of wrought iron (In its press releases of the day Paramount-Publix heralded the Spanish design as one of most appropriate for Southern theatres.) the fixtures throughout the auditorium were also constructed from wrought iron as well as wood and leather. Spanish (and Italian) pottery, terra cotta jars, wrought iron lantern top torches old brass and copper jugs, reproductions of old paintings, mirrors and seemingly endless drapes made all parts of Charlotte’s Carolina a feast for the eyes.

Opened on 7th March 1927, this house became the centerpiece of the North Carolina operations of the Paramount-Publix chain. It served as such until the late 1960’s. It closed in 1978.'

‘Chronicling the Carolinas’ Theatres by Jim Lewallen and Douglas Gomery

Additional information;
The Carolina Theatre was equipped with a Barton theatre pipe organ which was opened by Faye Wilcox. In the 1950’s the organ was played by Clarence Etters who was musical director at radio station WBT & WBT-TV. After that the organ went silent.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 6, 2004 at 3:15 am


My source of information is “American Theatres of Today” Vol 1 by R.W. Sexton & B.F. Betts Published 1927.

Pages 110 and 111 have architect plans and a photo of the auditorium side wall & balcony front looking back from the front of the orchestra level. Credited are R.E. Hall & Co Inc Architects and Engineers.

In the same publication R.E. Hall & Co Inc are credited as Architects and Engineers of the Florida Theater, Jacksonville, FL but in the case of the Eastman Theater, Rochester. NY other architects and associate architects take the credit and R.E. Hall & Co Inc are listed as being consulting engineers.

Patsy on December 5, 2004 at 7:09 pm

I now have found on this site that R.E. Hall was the engineer for 2 theatres, Eastman Theatre in Rochester NY and Florida Theatre in Jacksonville FL, and was not the architect so the mystery still remains as to who was the architect for the Carolina Theatre?

Patsy on December 5, 2004 at 6:55 pm

KenRoe: Thanks for providing us with the Carolina Theatre architect information, but was wondering what you source was as I see you are in the UK?

Patsy on December 5, 2004 at 6:50 pm

Falonia: Are you a local Charlotte resident? If so, you might be interested in joining the Carolina Theatre Preservation Society founded by Charlie Clayton (charlie c).

Patsy on December 5, 2004 at 6:00 pm

Thanks Charlie for your call and hopefully others will join the Carolina Theatre bandwagon! I’ve learned through more research tonight that the next door, Mint Museum has been allowed to use the theatre for STORAGE!?!

cclayton on December 5, 2004 at 2:23 pm

If you want to see inside of the theatre, send me an e-mail at .com Our non-profit’s sole purpose is to save and restore this theatre. If you are not already a member, you need to join with us to make this happen. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!!!

Patsy on December 4, 2004 at 6:36 pm

If they had a fundraiser in 2002, why not another one since it was so successful then. The interest is out there and should be ‘tapped’! On the following site: View link there is a story about the event that was held in the ruined auditorium in 1996 that is well worth reading and seeing!! I would love to see the inside of the auditorium though the website photos really help to give you a glimpse of what it really looks like today! The ability to see the past and present photos as a comparison really helps see what was and what isn’t anymore. I truly feel this theatre should be a community effort and the restoration of this once beautiful theatre become a beautiful reality! There are many theatres on this site, but none as worthy as this one to be restored and enjoyed once again by the citizens of Charlotte, North Carolina! If anyone reading this is in the Charotte area, please let me know what one voice can do and in the end if many voices speak out it will and can make a difference!

Patsy on December 4, 2004 at 6:21 pm

Falonia: “If Nations can buy Bank of America and completely change the face of downtown why can’t they save this theatre? They owe it to the people of Charlotte? Well written and my thoughts completely. And I repeat…..this theatre needs to be given back to the citizens of Charlotte!!

Patsy on December 2, 2004 at 8:04 pm

This theatre needs to be given back to the citizens of Charlotte!!

falonia on November 8, 2004 at 12:17 am

I was a theatre usher at the Carolina while the Sound of Music was showing in the early 60’s. All seats were reserved and it was a sell out every Friday and Saturday night. Being only sixteen I only knew the theatre was old but knew little of its history. I recall an old chaulkboard that listed the order of acts when there was live productions behind the stage. It was a Wilbur-Kincy theatre at the time and was nicknamed the “Queen of the Chain”. I worked for Kermit High who was a quiet but nice man. I didnt realized the area under the stage was the orchestra pit but if I recall the custodian lived there. His name was Charlie and he had been there forever. He got hit by a bus checking the marquee lights one afternoon. The lights were still individual bulbs in the sixties, there were hundreds of them.

We stole popcorn from the huge popper behind the stage between afternoon and evening performances. That was our dinner as we only made 85 cents an hour. Our blazers were burgundy and we wore bowties. I loved the balcony and usually seated the patrons there. I remember seating one older woman there in the very last row under the projection booth. She said “If there is a fire will you come and get me?” The other 499 people laughed loud and long.

Its a tragedy that this theatre is in such shape. A city with Charlotte’s resources should preserve it. If Nations can buy Bank of America and completely change the face of downtown why can’t they save this theatre. They owe it to the people of Charlotte.

Norman Hayes, Murphys Ca.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 3, 2004 at 10:51 am

The architect of the Carolina Theatre was R.E. Hall & Co Inc., Architects & Engineers.

cclayton on August 31, 2004 at 3:07 pm

Please note the organization that did the fundraiser is the Carolina Theatre Preservation Society.(501 c3 non-profit) We operate the web site mentioned above and we would like to hear from all the people who been posting comments on this page. Its important we work together to get the Carolina Theatre back to its orginal grandeaur.Contact Charlie Clayton at .com if you want to see this happen. We are getting much closer than you might think to making this happen. We need your help!!!!

UAGirl on December 16, 2003 at 11:28 am

Here is an excellent pictorial history of the theatre:

View link

William on December 5, 2003 at 5:50 pm

The Charlotte Theatre is located at 226N. Tryon and it seated 1405 people when it was a movie theatre.

MurrayRosen on October 30, 2002 at 7:35 pm

I have taken a photograph of the marquee displaying the last movie to appear at the Carolina Theater.It was taken in the evening Title “Across 110th Street”

UAGirl on June 12, 2002 at 1:20 pm

The fund raiser was a huge success. Thanks to everyone that came out.