Center Theatre

120 S. Main Street,
Monroe, NC 28112

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Downtown Monroe Art Walk 2014

The Center Theatre opened on February 9, 1940 and had a seating capacity of 846. The movie shown on opening day was “Remember the Night” with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.

The Center Theatre closed as twin screen movie theatre in December of 1991 and the auditorium was later returned to a single screen space. Renovation work began in 2013.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

PatriciaCarol on October 3, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Here is a nice story about The Center and the plans for it:

Djeerings on January 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

My name is Don Jeerings, and I have been involved with 6 organ installatons, including the Robert Morton 3/13 installation in the Polk Theater in Lakeland Fl.

I am looking at your photos of the Center Theatre, For a full 3/13 Robert Morton installation, You may be very limited on space.

In the photo, I see two openings(one each side of the stage). Does your Robert Morton 3/13 organ, include the toy counter and rank extensions? If so, you will need to be very prudent with the pipe space and layout in your installation.

You will need to install shutters over the openings for expression, and the blowers will need to be located where they can draw air from inside. Pipe organs are extremely sensitive to air temperature / tuning. I expect the vintage or your organ will employ an OrgoBlow unit. Very heavy with a 5 HP motor, (may be 3 phase)

Is the purchased organ equiped with a combination action operating system?. Be cautious in what operating system you buy. You will find all kinds of helpful (free) advise, but some of it will be only worth what you paid for it.

I have worked on 4 different operating systems.

Our organ uses a “Petersen combination action system” with two 7.5 Hp blowers at 21" pressure. We have an organ elevator lift,in the pit, but do not use it. Our organ sets forward of the procenium, stage Right.

Where do you intend to locate your console?

Since you building is going to require major renovation, now is the time to provide access for cables and air lines to the chambers. Give this full consideration and save major work later.

If you would like to view the installed system in Lakeland Fl, our maintenance crew (4 to 6 people) perform tuning and maintenance each Wednesday. (I have access (for console time) any time the theatre is not in use)

I am 87 years old, quite nimble, and play for pre-show movies, but no longer able to climb in the chambers.

If I or our maintenance Crew chief can be of any hilp (with free advice, for what it’s worth), you can e-mail me.


Patsy on January 3, 2015 at 5:54 am

Don: I enjoyed reading your lengthy post. Have been to the Polk Theatre in Lakeland and heard that theatre organ. Don’t know if you are a new CT member. If so, welcome aboard.

Patsy on January 3, 2015 at 6:07 am

Don: The Center is on FB. If you are on FB, please post your theatre organ knowledge there too!

Patsy on January 3, 2015 at 6:09 am

I plan on calling the theatre and arrange a tour on behalf of Cinema Treasures this month!

DaveN on January 3, 2015 at 7:00 am

Patsy and Don, Thank you for your interest in the Center Theatre. Patsy, you may call anytime to arrange a tour. My number is 704 458 8881. Don, I am an organbuilder in the Charlotte area with 37 years of experience. I have considered all the issues you address and feel confident we can make this instrument work in the space. Haven’t determined an operating system yet and am working with my consultant, Scott Foppiano about that. My work includes installation of the very large, 205 rank Moller at Calvary Church, Charlotte, NC. I currently represent Reuter Organ Company of Lawrence, KS. Would love to have conversation with you regarding our 3/13 Robert Morton. Please feel free to use the above number to reach me. You may also contact me at . Thanks both for your comments!

DaveN on January 16, 2015 at 6:00 am

Cinema Treasures indicates the Center Theatre was equipped with 2 screens and seating for 400. In reality the theatre originally had seating for 846 including the balcony. The balcony was partitioned off and fitted with a second screen for a few years. That screen was removed several years ago.

DaveN on January 18, 2015 at 4:16 am

So good to meet Patsy this week! Thank you for your interest in our project and for a wonderful visit. We look forward to many more encounters.

DaveN on September 22, 2015 at 5:18 am

The report is in from our structural engineer and the Center Theatre gets a passing grade! Now we can move it forward. Stay tuned!

bobhopkins on March 24, 2017 at 2:42 pm

Hello, I’m currently a staff organist at the Lafayette organ in Suffern NJ., built a digital 2nd chamber for the organ and now co-crew chief of the organ. I will be moving to Salisbury NC this summer and would like to help with your Robert Morton project. My page explains some of my projects at:

Thanks and happy restoration, Eugene D Hayek

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