Capitol Theater

926 E. McLemore Avenue,
Memphis, TN 38126

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Exterior of Soulsville complex

This theater is best-known as the home of the legendary Stax Records studios after its demise as a theater. Though the original building was demolished about 1989, a new building, Soulsville U.S.A., home of the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, has incorporated a replica of its exterior into its design.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

BarryFord on January 25, 2006 at 7:56 pm

Capitol Theater/Stax Recording Studio

STAX Music Academy and Museum of American Soul Music, Memphis, by Looney Ricks Kiss Architects and Self Tucker Architects
The STAX Museum of American Soul Music is not only located on the site, it also re-creates the original buildingâ€"the 1930s Capitol Theaterâ€"that housed the once-prominent STAX Recording Studio. The clients, a not-for-profit foundation, wanted a museum to showcase and memorialize the genesis and evolution of America’s soul music. They also wanted as part of the music campus a separate music academy that would intervene in the lives of at-risk inner city youth and help revitalize the surrounding distressed neighborhood known as Soulsville, USA. “This one is about community building at the scale of the neighborhood, it emphasizes a local part of the history and culture of Memphis,” said the jury. “We support this one for social reasons, as well as for its design merits. It has an exuberance and a vitality to its forms.”
Photo © Albert Vecerka/ESTO Photographics.

JackCoursey on December 14, 2006 at 11:21 pm

Here is a photo of Soulsville U.S.A.

kencmcintyre on March 2, 2010 at 3:45 am

Here is a 1989 photo by Dave Fisher:

TLSLOEWS on July 15, 2010 at 8:33 pm

Sad looking 1983 photo.

dickneeds111 on April 16, 2012 at 9:32 pm

The photo of the dillapitated Capitol theatre from 1983 has a record store called Satellite records next door. This was the home of Stax records before they became Stax. They started out as Satelite records. Gee Whiz by Carla Thomas was the 4th record and there 1st major hit and was sold to Atlantic. There next big hit was Last Night by the Mar-Keys. They then became Stax in 1961 and the rest was Memphis Soul history.

vastor on December 15, 2012 at 7:07 pm

New photo has been posted of the Capitol Theatre with an early canopy and sign. Picture playing is “One Last Fling” released in 1949. Taken from the photomural inside the entrance to Soulsville USA on the site of the Capitol Theatre/Stax recording studio. The large gray square is a speaker mounted on the wall. 12/15/2012

vastor on December 15, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Have also posted photos of the entire photomural.

vastor on January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Newest photos are of the present exterior and are courtesy of the museum.

DavidZornig on May 12, 2019 at 8:24 pm

Late `60s photo added via Harald Morgalla.

MichaelKilgore on May 13, 2019 at 4:10 am

Hey DavidZornig! I could use your help on a project. Would you please drop me a line at

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