Kirkwood Theatre

1965 Hosea L. Williams Drive SE,
Atlanta, GA 30317

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Originally part of the Bailey’s Theatre circuit, this theatre closed in the 60s, and was demolished in 1985.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

Don K.
Don K. on April 17, 2006 at 7:53 pm

THE KIRKWOOD THEATRE

The Kirkwood Theatre was one of a group of neighborhood movie houses that my dad took me to back in the 1950’s. As I recall, the façade had an art deco look, with the box office at one side of the lobby. It was a small (400 seats just right) movie house that was utterly unpretentious. Located in the Kirkwood business district at what was then 1965 Boulevard Drive, it was part of a largely blue collar neighborhood. They booked generous helping of westerns, science fiction, horror, and Tarzan movies. Some of my earliest memories of going to the movies in the early 1950’s are associated with the Kirkwood.

By 1960 the neighborhood was changing and the Kirkwood Theatre made a dramatic change. It was the first movie theater in the Atlanta area to convert to an ”Adults Only” policy, becoming the Kirkwood Adult Theatre. The neighborhood was definitely going down hill. By the mid 1960’s my family moved out of the nearby East Lake neighborhood. Not too long after that the Kirkwood Theatre caught fire and consequently shut down.

In 1985, I was visiting Atlanta and took a drive through the east side. It was somewhat surprising to see that a wrecking crew had opened up the front of the long closed theater and were preparing it for demolition. So, I parked the car and walked over to take a closer look. The front of the theater had been torn away and you could see the auditorium, or what was left of it. It looked even smaller than I remembered it. The seats and screen were gone and there was a large hole in the ceiling that was obviously the work of the fire. Striking up a conversation with one of the workmen, I mentioned that my dad used to take me to the movies at this theater thirty years earlier. He said to me, “It must bring back old memories.”

It certainly did!

The last time I was in Atlanta in 2003, the site of the Kirkwood Theatre was an empty look.

Don K.
Don K. on April 20, 2006 at 6:50 pm

Correction: The last phrase should read, “… an empty lot.”

1234
1234 on July 3, 2007 at 5:57 pm

The Kirkwood Theatre opened June 17, 1934 and was remodled and reopened on Feb 28, 1937.

Duffelbag
Duffelbag on February 16, 2010 at 11:52 am

I worked Kirkwood Theatre from'51-‘55, while attending Murphy H.S., at the popcorn machine and later the added candy bar. Pay was 50cents/hour, 6-9pm, M-F. Different crew for the weekend. Mgr was Gwen Hay, and cashier was Mrs Clark, both living in n'hood. When films changed, I changed the marquee using a ladder stored between us and Miss Georgia store. Owner was Bill Wooten, who also owned Avondale Theatre. I lived in K'wood from '49 – '57. Times were simpler then. Wish I had saved the movie posters.
D. Rimer

Don K.
Don K. on March 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Just to think, you might have been the fellow who handed me my popcorn and candy! Yes, those times were definitely simpler! Thanks so much for sharing your memories!

cinemahound
cinemahound on May 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm

My father Joe worked at the Kirkwood in the 1940s, and had attended many movies there as a young boy in the years before. He remembered the Saturday kids' specials and the neighborhood atmosphere. Kirkwood was a simpler, kinder place in a simpler, kinder time.

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