Hilan Theatre

800 N. Highland Avenue NE,
Atlanta, GA 30306

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Hilan Theatre

The Hilan Theatre was opened October 9, 1933 with Slim Summerville in “Her First Mate”. During a recent excursion to Atlanta to get information and photos of the area’s theatres I was a bit disheartened to discover that the Hilan’s distinctive marquee as well as its entire North Highland Avenue facade had vanished. According to folks in the area, this former Storey Theatre is still there but none could account for its current condition or future.

A few years after the theatre closed in 1969, it became the home of the Metropolitan Community Church. Currently a bank, ice cream parlor and coffee shop reside in the space once occupied by the Hilan’s entrance and lobby.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

rechols on November 11, 2010 at 2:29 am

I worked concession at the Hilan in 1964-5 while a senior at Bass High School in Little Five Points.
Previously I had worked at the Emory, and on occasion, I picked up shifts at the Rhodes. I remember
changing the marquee at the Hilan with my friend and fellow Bass student, Steve. We’d spread the letters out on the sidewalk, I’d hand them up to Steve who manned the ladder. It was always a challenge to find enough letters to do the job. Those things were duct taped and chipped, but didn’t look too bad up on the marquee. Pay for concession was .60 an hour.
I too remember the projectionist, Horace Biggers (couldn’t remember his first name until I read these
posts, but then I don’t think I ever knew his first name – everyone just called him “Biggers.”) Yes, he
was a character – always had some little construction project going. A big tall man and a nice guy.
Enjoyed the posts – great Atlanta Baby Boomer nostalgia. All you Storey alumnae, be sure to
check out the Emory and Rhodes on Cinema Treasures, too. Thanks all.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 3, 2011 at 11:42 am

thanks Ralph, Most all of us had a “Biggers”. LOl.

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 7:22 am

I worked there in the concession stand in 64. Remember popping popcorn in the bathtub upstairs and bring it downstairs. I also remember the candy was out in the open and had to watch people like hawks to keep them from stealing. Remember when Hard Days night played and sat up in the projection booth and watched the girls screaming. Also learned how to change reels and watch for the dots to appear. I Also worked a couple shifts at the Emory

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 7:23 am

Been trying to find a photo from the early 60’s any idea where I might find one

JackCoursey on February 12, 2012 at 7:35 am

check the top floor of the main branch of the fulton county library. you will have to look around a bit but there is a wealth of material there literally rotting away.

richgnoe on February 12, 2012 at 10:49 am

Thanks… Next time I am in Atlanta I will check. I live in Virginia now. Was trying to try something online

reg41 on February 14, 2013 at 6:13 pm

During my 16 month stay in Atlanta (1964 and 65) I was able to attend this theatre only once. I saw a black and white film, “The Hill”, a good one, directed by Lumet and starring Sean Connery just after “Dr. No”, and Harry Andrews. It was not one of the movie palaces but it was a nice neighborhood theatre, just around the corner from the Plaza theatre.

richgnoe on February 14, 2013 at 6:24 pm

I worked there during that time… memories

ironcityboy on July 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Only two blocks from the better known Plaza Theater, the Hilan held its share of devotees during my time as a nearby Poncey-Highlands resident in the early ‘70s. I recall that after its closing, the building was home for a non-denominational church before its ultimate conversion to multiple commercial spaces. Along with adjacent Atkins Park Deli, Fleeman’s Pharmacy & Fountain and the public library, the Hilan was part and parcel of an eclectic neighborhood that would eventually give way to the gentrification trend of the late'70s thru '80s.

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