Palms Theater

East Main Street,
New Port Richey, FL

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Opend on August 27, 1921. It was built by Rufus and Margaret Jackson. Newspapers in 1922 indicate that an entertainment feature was shown on Saturday nights and an educational feature was shown on Wednesday nights. A 1924 advertisement indicated that “moving pictures” were being shown on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and showed John S. Jackson as proprietor.

After the theater was closed, about 1926, it was used as a feed store and later as a recreation hall for children. On Apr. 12, 1929, the New Port Richey Press reported that J. S. Jackson, “until last week manager of the Meighan Theatre here” would be remodeling the old Palms Theater and that he would “show the same high grade pictures at the Palms as were shown at the Meighan”. The New Port Richey Press reported on Feb. 28, 1930, that the theater would reopen on Saturday night. Unknown if it did reopen.

The theater eventually burned to the ground on January 30, 1938.

Contributed by TC

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 23, 2005 at 8:18 pm

The Meighan Theatre was named after a silent actor named Thomas Meighan. His brother was James Meighan who was the architect of this theater. There is a photo of the Palms Theater here:
http://www.fivay.org/images/ghs2021.jpg

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 24, 2005 at 10:33 am

I was reading the history of the Meighan/Richey Suncoast Theater and it mentions that the Palms Theater had a dirt floor. I wonder if this was an “open air” theater, I can’t tell from the photo.
Meighan/Richey Suncoast Theater history link:
http://www.fivay.org/meighan.html

teecee
teecee on February 24, 2005 at 11:23 am

Good catch. The picture of the Palms appears to demonstrate a bungelow style architecture with the lattice work. It is no wonder that the flames were so huge on the subsequent fire.

A bit of curiosity: The Meighan /Richey reopened on 1/28/38 after a 4 year dormancy. The Palms burned down on 1/30/38. Coincidence?
Remember that the former manager of the Meighan ran (or at least planned to run) the Palms.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 24, 2005 at 12:17 pm

That is a coincidence isn’t it. I wonder if they had fire insurance? I believe that this was an open air theater. The dirt floor was the first clue. The open lattice work is clue number two. And in the description above it says “entertainment feature was shown on Saturday nights and an educational feature was shown on Wednesday nights”. The keyword is “nights”. No roof means no daytime movies. I believe that the cost to remodel this theater was too high so they just let it sit until it “accidently” burned down.

jeff560
jeff560 on April 4, 2005 at 6:58 pm

I do not know whether the Palms Theater was an open air theater, but apparently the fire was started by a boy playing with matches. An older resident of New Port Richey told me recently that he was “certain” that a friend of his (whom he named) was playing with matches on a Sunday morning and inadvertently caused the fire. (A check of a calendar confirms that Jan. 30, 1938, was a Sunday.)

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