Gem Theatre

140 West Main Street,
Kingsport, TN 37660

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The Strand Theatre was Kingsport’s first movie theatre. It was built in the late-1910’s or early-1920’s and showed silent pictures with a piano accompaniment and an occasional band. By the 1950’s, now renamed Gem Theatre, it had deteriorated to a second or third run theatre where drunks passed their days.

Closed as a movie theatre in the early-1960’s, it later hosted country music shows on Saturday evenings into the 1970’s. The shows were broadcast on the cable TV system. The building was later gutted by fire.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Bruce Gentry

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 4, 2006 at 5:26 pm

Here is an ad from the Kingsport Times on 6/20/37:

GEM THEATRE Monday and Tuesday
A PICTURE ALL SHOULD SEE!
BRET HARTE'S
‘OUTCASTS of POKER FLATS'
â€" with â€"
PRESTON FOSTER – JEAN MUIR
CARDS – THAT DEAL OUT T0 MEN AND WOMENâ€"
LOVE …
WEALTH …
ROMANCE…
RUIN …

Admission 10c and 15c
Any Time

JackCoursey
JackCoursey on October 19, 2007 at 12:50 pm

This location was also the site of the Strand/Nu-Strand 1925-1935.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2010 at 5:14 am

This theater opened as the Strand, but was never called the Nu-Strand. When the Nu-Strand Theatre opened on Broad Street in 1925, the original Strand on Main Street became the Gem.

This aerial photo, ca.1916, shows the original Strand/Gem Theatre at center.

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