559 W. King Street,
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The Appalachian Theatre was opened November 14, 1938 with the movie “Breaking the Ice” starring Bobby Breen & Charles Ruggles. The admission price was 25 cents for adults, 10 cents for children.
Gutted in 1950 by a fire started by overheated popcorn oil during the Saturday matinee of the film “The Trail of the Singing Pines” starring Gene Autry. The manager went to the stage to ask people to depart, but flames then shot out of the corners of the screen, and people stampeded out. It was restored/repaired and reopened and continued until 1981. It was taken over by an out of town movie chain and was later taken over by Carmike Cinemas and converted into the Appalachian Twin.
In 2005, admission was raised from $1.50 to $2.00, and $2.50 for weekends. Art House films were shown at what was informally known as ‘The Dollar House’. Carmike Cinemas closed the twin on November 29, 2007.
In 2008, a Florida developer acquired the building, stripping the building and then went bankrupt. The building sat closed and empty under the town ownership of Boone. In 2013, a non-profit was formed – the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country Inc. – they bought the theatre from the town and the fundraising began in earnest. In 2017, the distinctive mint green and black glass Art Deco style facade and neon marquee was restored back onto the building, winning a NC MainStreet Award.
In the summer of 2019 and extensive renovation of the rest of the building is almost completed, with plans to reopen in October 2019. While the interior has been reconfigured to incorporate onsite office space into much needed lobby space, considerable effort has gone into reclaiming that unique Art Deco style gleam. Once billed as “Western Carolina’s Finest Theatre” the newly renovated theatre will feature historic elements like a recreation of the original bold Art Deco style designed carpet from 1938 and restored multicolored wall sconces.
Several film festivals are planned and a wide variety of performing arts events.
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