514 Hancock Street,
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The Masonic Theatre was built approximately 1810 with the theater on the ground level and a Masonic lodge above the theater. During the Union occupation of New Bern in the Civil War the theater was renamed Union Theatre; after the war ended the Masonic Theatre name was revived.
Originally a legitimate house, movies were being shown here by 1910. The Masonic Theatre would be New Bern’s leading downtown movie theater for decades; the Athens Theatre (originally a vaudeville house) was its primary competitor. The advent of television and drive-in theatres hurt business, but it was the arrival of shopping-center cinemas that finally forced the Masonic Theatre to close in 1974. The Southgate Cinema 1 & 2 opened around the same time as the Masonic Theatre closed.
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