169 S. Main Street,
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The Princess Theater opened in 1911 under the Southern Enterprises banner and was equipped with a Kimball pipe organ. It was the most elaborate of the stud-lit free standing theatres. It was also the only one which used the spelling ‘theater’ militantly, even in the terra cotta. Not long after it opened, the deep entryway with its barrel vault became a mixed blessing. It sprouted several different canopies and an outdoor concession stand which actually kept the theatre viable in later years when it had acquired a bad reputation and a worse smell.
Loew’s rented it for a time, Paramount rented it also. Malco operated it and Kemmons Wilson (of Holiday Inn fame) owned the building.
The theater was later acquired by the Shelby Amusement Company and closed in 1969 and demolished shortly thereafter. In its last years the elaborate terra cotta façade had been covered or destroyed. Some interior plasterwork remained, but the smell did not abate until it was completely gone.
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