Gulf Theatre

1316 25th Avenue,
Gulfport, MS 39501

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The Anderson Theatre was opened on December 23, 1921. The actual name of the theatre was Anderson’s Theatre. It was owned and operated by Vassar Anderson, a local merchant in Gulfport. According to 1921 news articles the theatre seated 844 people. The architect for the theatre was the local firm of Shaw and Woleben, who earlier had designed the new Strand Theatre on 26th Avenue as well as many local buildings. The second floor contained four office and store suites at the front of the building and had a separate entrance on the north side from the street. Two stores were located on each side of the entrance and lobby. a Jewely Store and a Beauty Shop, and a Ladies wear occupied one suite on the second floor.

The opening feature was "A Man’s Home", along with a Harry Semon comedy and a news reel. The theatre featured a four piece orchestra for its opening. Vassar Anderson operated the theatre until July 24, 1922, after which it was sold to the Saenger Amusement Company of New Orleans.

In a special ad on July 26, 1922, with regrets, Vassar confirmed the sale of his theatre to the Saenger Amusement Company. It was operated by Saenger and several other companies, including Paramount-Richards Theatres until 1951 when it was closed.

Some time in the 1930’s its name was changed to Gulf Theatre and was operating under that name when it was closed. Its Gulf Theatre name and neon sign were sold to the owners of the Legion Theatre who used it for their theatre building on 27th Avenue after opening a new larger Legion on 13th Street. The Coast Hardware store occupied the building for many years. Today the Mississippi Power company operates its audio visual center in the building. The name Anderson’s Theatre still remains at the top of the building.

Contributed by Wayne Saucier
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