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This theater was indeed a treasure to find, since I found it by accident. I found it in the amazingly locally published Sand in my Shoes – a 600+ page compilation of various pictures and memories of nearby Walnut and Myrtle Beach (and its resorts) and its land grab of 1959 that all but demolished this last untouched few blocks.
The Tower Theatre is now an addition to St. Gabriel’s Church. It was originally built as an overflow house because of full capacity a few hundred feet to the east at the old Strand, nee Colonial. The Tower was a small house and was only open for the summer crowd and closed in the fall (it had no heat). This was the first theater in Milford and first showed silents only. It was owned by the Gills. It probably held less than 200 seats.
When you stand at this Spanish Mission church with the red terra cotta tiles, you feel like you are in another country. The hall to the left was originally the Tower but is now connected to the church in a U-shape. To the rear are pilasters and behind it, it looks like an old cinema. The pictures in the book make it look like a faux castle.
In the book Sand in My Shoes, they have an ad on page 371 for the Colonial and Tower, “Two Ideal Places of Attraction (Meet me at the Tower). High Class Motion Pictures, Educational, Instructive, Entertaining Class of Pictures, Clear, Flickerless, Perfect”.
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