Pitts Theatre

9410 Main Street,
Manassas, VA 20110

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Pitts Theatre

The Dixie Theater was opened prior to 1926. Around 1942 it was renamed Pitts Theatre. This former movie house is now home to a travel agency.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 26, 2012 at 7:09 am

There is a picture of the theater and some additional detail about it on this Google Books webpage

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 17, 2018 at 1:32 pm

An item in Motion Picture Herald from 1931 (I can’t find the date) says that Ben Pitts had recently taken over the Dixie Theatre in Manassas.

There is conflicting information about the Dixie/Pitts' Theatre. The December 31, 1936 issue of The Manassas Journal (PDF here) advertises the Pitts Theatre, but a number of items about movies playing at the Dixie Theatre give the names and dates of the movies listed in the Pitts Theatre’s ad. As it seems unlikely that the same movies would be playing at two different theaters, what seems more likely is that the name Dixie remained in common use after the theater had been renamed Pitts. An ad published by Pitts Theatres in 1939 uses the name Pitts' for the Manassas house.

More troubling is a line in one article (upper right, front page) making reference to “… the square [the block] north of Center Street where the Pitts' Theatre is located….” The silent era Dixie Theatre was south of Center Street. Also giving the block north of Center Street as the location of Pitts' Theatre is the caption of a photo in the Arcadia Press book Manassas (Google books preview) saying “…the Olde Towne Inn opened in 1973 at the corner of Center and Main Streets, on the site of the old Pitts Theatre and Stonewall Jackson Hotel.” This is the block north of Center Street, and thus not the location of the silent era Dixie Theatre building, which is still standing.

It would appear then that a new theater was opened north of Center Street by 1936, and by that year was being advertised as Pitts' Theatre. However, the FDY continues to list the only house in Manassas as the Dixie through 1941, and the name Pitts (well, actually it first appears as “Titts”) doesn’t show up until 1942. The Pitts is then listed with only 200 seats until 1949, when it suddenly goes to 505 seats. The silent era Dixie building was never large enough for 505 seats, so this is more evidence that it has to have been the house north of Center Street, but I don’t know if this reflected a recent expansion or if the FDY was only belatedly catching up with a change made years earlier.

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