Lyric Theatre (Vine Avenue)

109 West Vine Avenue,
Knoxville, TN 37902

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The Lyric was one of the earliest theatres in the Knoxville area. If you know anything about this theatre, please email us.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 2, 2006 at 11:32 am

Jack, a quick look at the modern street map shows that the address 109 W Vine is now an empty lot. Urban renewal hit that area hard, the address would now be 109 W Summit Hill: I do know from previous research that the numbers stayed the same when the name changed. 106 W Summit Hill (across the street) is still there. The neighborhood is absolutely what you’d expect to find an early storefront nickelodeon in. If you don’t mind, could you contact me directly or through this page on CT – I haven’t found any reference to this theatre in early newspapers. What is your source? I do have access to Sanborne maps, but would like to know what year/years we’re looking for.

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on August 3, 2006 at 7:58 pm

My apologies for not responding earlier, but I didn’t get a note that someone had responded to this page. You can reach me via my flickr website. Although I can’t find my notes on the Lyne, I am almost certain that this information came from a Knoxville city directory circa 1911-1913.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 31, 2006 at 12:24 pm

Jack et al:

The theatre at 109 W Vine Avenue was not the “Lyne” as originally listed on this page. It was called the “Lyric” and only operated between 1911 and 1913. This was a store-front nickelodeon which served Knoxville’s African-American population. Mr. J.E. Shippley was the proprietor. In 1910 the address is listed as Harry Berry, shoe maker. In 1914 it was vacant. In 1915 it is listed as Chesney Brothers Clothing.

Please note, the grand Staub’s Opera House at 800-804 Gay Street, Knoxville, ended its life also known as the Lyric Theatre, though that theatre didn’t take the name “Lyric” until many years after the one on Vine Avenue closed. I leave it up to the CT staff to figure out how to list two separate theatres with the same name.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on August 31, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Additional to the above, regarding “earliest” movie theatresin Knoxville: at least four other theatres were showing films in 1911, Majestic, Crystal, Grand and Gay.

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