119 S. Main Street,
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The building that became known as the Austin Theater was purchased in November 1915, by George Hiley Slappey (1871-1934). The building originally housed a dry goods store.
In 1916, the building was remodeled and a second floor auditorium was added. According to Mr. Slappey, the theater was intended to have "the sumptuousness of a palace, the convenience of a house and the agreeableness of a county seat."
In 1934, the Austin Theater was leased to the Martin-Thompson theater chain from Hawkinsville, Georgia. Upon his death, Mr. Slappey’s estate sold the building to the Martin-Thompson Company who added a third floor projection booth and renamed it the Peach Theater. From that time until the late-1940’s, the building experienced its peak use as Fort Valley’s premier movie theater.
The Peach Theater went out of business in 1968 and the building was sold and remodeled to house a discount department store. The department store went out of business in 1975, and the building was vacant until 1999 when the county commissioners provided $500,000 for its renovation for use as a commercial and cultural venue, again known as the Austin Theater.
It does not have theatre seats or a screen, but the facade has been painstakingly restored.
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