Princess Theater

408 N. Main Street,
South Boston, VA 24592

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Princess Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theater has been open off and on at least for the first few years of my living in the area. The theatre looks to be much older than its 1930’s-1950’s Art Moderne facing. Almost all the buildings on that side of the street have the same look.

I know that the building on the corner of Main Street and Willburn Avenue was built around 1914. After seeing a first run film here about 3 years ago, and seeing the inside, I am presuming the theatre may date from around this time or the early-1920’s.

Contributed by joe bly

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

AndyCallahanMajorMajor
AndyCallahanMajorMajor on January 6, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Well, I made it up to South Boston and poked around Main Street for this theater. I believe I found the old Princess Theater, but its address is 532 Main Street. It was most recently Sobo’s Main Theater, but now it’s Sobo’s Bazaar.

Here are my pictures from December 2010.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 16, 2011 at 5:16 am

The entry for architect A.O. Budina in the 1956 edition of the AIA’s American Architects Directory lists a Halifax Theatre in South Boston among his works for the year 1938. I found a single 1945 newspaper reference to the Halifax Theatre being located on North Main Street. The house is also mentioned in Boxoffice of October 9, 1954, the year CinemaScope equipment was installed.

As the AIA Directory doesn’t specify if the project was for a new theater or a remodeling, is it possible that the Princess was called the Halifax for a while? Perhaps its Art Moderne facade was Budina’s 1938 project.

Dragonlace1
Dragonlace1 on August 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm

I found above picture reprinted in the South Boston newspaper (News & Record). If you look at the windows of preceeding building, I believe it shows that the Princess was located on Wilborne Avenue, not Main Street, where Halifax Theatre “is.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I’ve found a reference to the Princess Theatre in South Boston, Virginia, as early as 1923, but it could be even older. The building is indeed in the 400 block of Main Street, which can be seen on the map as a southward extension of Wilborn Avenue (the name Main Street Turns the corner at its intersection with Wilborn and Ferry Street.) However, the correct street number is 413, not 408.

Thanks to the vintage photo Dragonlace1 uploaded, I’ve been able to set Street View to the correct location. The shop to the north of the theater’s location is Executive Cuts Barber Shop, at 415 Main Street, and the shop to the south is McCollum-Ferrell Shoes, at 409 Main Street. Neither business uses the directional “North” in its address, just plain “Main Street”.

The address 411 would be the door to the upstairs of the theater building, and 413 Main Street would be the theater’s address. I can’t tell from the rather blurry Google Street View what is currently in the theater building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Reading Cinema Treasures' description of this house as currently written, I’m sure it actually describes the Halifax Theatre, not the Princess. This web page (there is supposed to be a photo but I can’t get it to display) says that the Princess Theatre burned and that the building currently on the site was built in 1958, so we can list this house as demolished. I did find a reference to the Princess still being in operation as late as 1958, and 413 Main Street is definitely the correct address.

lorireaves
lorireaves on December 22, 2012 at 7:57 pm

413 is the correct address. I currently operate a dance studio “We’ve Got Rhythm Dance Academy” in the building that replaced the theater when it burned. Before me it was Faulker and Lawson Drug Store for many years then a variety shop and bbq restaurant. I moved in about 5 years ago.

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