Linden Circle Theatre

311 S. Somerville Street,
Memphis, TN 38104

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Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on January 4, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Finally found the story on the organ at the Linden Circle. It was built for the Loew’s State Theatre in Buffalo NY in 1921 – Moller opus 2888. In 1925 the Buffalo theatre upgraded to a new, larger Moller organ and Moller took #2888 in trade. It was rebuilt and renumber as #4551 and installed in the Linden Circle the following year.

spectrum
spectrum on December 15, 2010 at 8:28 pm

2010 Google view shows the building still with its new clapboard siding in excellent shape, but no signage whatsoever on the building. I don’t know if it is merely dormant or used for something that puts out no signs. At any rate the building clearly looks maintained (maybe for rent). But the church listed above did not move in – they are located elsewhere in the city.

Mphshomeboy1
Mphshomeboy1 on July 10, 2010 at 7:56 pm

I remember as a child my Father worked with a man from West Memphis AR at Chip Balwick Chevrolt on Union. Our family’s would meet at the Linden Circle Theater in the early to mid 60’s on Friday nights and go to the Mid South Jamboree to see and listen to the preformers. There would be Dolly Pardon, Portor Wanger, String Bean, Grand Pa Jones, and many more. One in particulat also was Eddie Bond who was from Memphis and did radio commericals for a funiture store in Bayhaila MS (Bill Bailey’s). I worked here in Memphis at a local bank and had a friend in a different area that I would visit from time to time and some how got on the subject about The Midsouth Jamboree and talked to her about Eddie Bond. My co-worker told that his daughter worked with her in her department. I got to meet her and talk about Eddie and told her the memories of the past.

gspragin
gspragin on July 23, 2007 at 5:39 pm

I drove by in July 2007 and was excited to see renovation going on. The front doorw were open and building materials were stacked inside. Will go back to get more information and photos.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 6, 2007 at 6:32 am

This is an 6/18/2004 article about the Linden Circle Theater. It was supposed to become a church.

“Memphis, Tenn., Theater Gets New Start as Church Will Renovate, Move into Site.

The Commercial Appeal
Byline: Jody Callahan

Jun. 18—Like a Frankenstein monster from one of the movies that used to glow inside, the vacant Linden Circle Theater may soon be resurrected.

But this time, the 78-year-old building near Somerville and Linden on the edge of downtown is going to be a church.

The New Day Church International, an offshoot from the Church of God in Christ, bought the building for $100,000 in May with plans for renovation.

“We’ll have offices for our outreach ministries, both local and international, such as food and clothing distribution for the needy,” church founder David Grayson said. “We’ll also hold our regular church services on those premises.”

Work began on the project a couple weeks ago and could take a year, contractor Otis Shaw said.

“It’s in quite bad shape. Most of all, we have to put a new roof on it. We’ll see where we’re going from there,” Shaw said. “We don’t know what we’re going to do until we get the roof on.”

Grayson was uncertain of the project’s total cost, but said that much of it was being done by church volunteers.

Grayson said his church meets in another former movie theater, the General Cinema building at 3320 Austin-Peay in Raleigh.

Grayson said he found the Linden theater by chance, while checking the empty Salvation Army building across the street as a possible site.

“I only came across the building a few months ago. I didn’t know it was there,” he said.

Grayson also said the church plans to operate a small restaurant in a building next door to the theater.

The theater, opened in 1926, was once one of Memphis’s nicer cinemas. It had the first Panorama screen in the city and just the second in the country.

But the advent of multiplexes and the growth of suburbia left the Linden Circle theater — like others around the city, including the Memphian, the Rialto and the Gem Airdome — falling out of fashion.

It eventually fell into disrepair and decay, and hasn’t been used in at least 25 or 30 years, said Michael Lightman, an executive at Malco, which formerly owned the property".

gspragin
gspragin on November 19, 2006 at 8:34 pm

Linden Circle Theatre November 2006.
This old theatre seems to be perfectly intact with a fairly recent coat of paint. It is located in a block where all the businesses are closed. The old night club next door was the victim of a fire, but I couldn’t tell that this building was impacted. I even went around back to get a few shots.

Article from 2004 Plans for Linden Circle Theatre property

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on November 7, 2005 at 2:56 am

I was in the Linden Circle during the mid-1980’s when it was a short-lived, low-end antique-junk store. The seats had been unbolted and piled at the small stage end. There were vestiges of older decor visible behind art-deco era remodling.

The auditorium was broad with no balcony. The lobby sloped upward and lead past the adjacent store fronts.

The Linden Circle at one time had a 3 manual theatre organ originally at the Loew’s Buffalo. Last I heard, that organ was in a Baptist church in Jackson Tennessee minus its toys and percussions.

About 1990 the art-deco marquee and the vaguely Spanish front were covered in vinyl siding (!) in a mis-guided attempt to dress up the block.

Backseater
Backseater on October 19, 2005 at 7:35 pm

In the late 1970s and early 80s on Sundays I used to bicycle all around Memphis. I usually got down to Riverside Drive, and would then go up Beale Street past the Orpheum and the Daisys to the bus garage and around Linden Circle to Peabody; then back East to the MSU area. I remember passing a church on Linden Circle, with movie theater architecture, at or very close to this address according to the maps, with a sign reading “God Save America Prayer Temple.” I never saw any people there; and since I went by on Sunday mornings, that’s probably not a good sign. Anyway, I suggest that as late as 1980, this could have been the retreaded Linden Circle Theater.