868 Arkansas Street,
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Originally open from 1913 to 1928.
In 1941, Kemmons Wilson (who later went on to be the founder of Holiday Inn’s) heard there was a little, long closed for years, Desoto Theater for sale. Kemmons offered to pay the $2,000 asking price if he could pay it at $25 a week after he got the theater open. Kemmons then went to National Theater Supply Company run by Bob Bostick who provided invaluable assistance as Kemmons learned the movie business. Bob sold Kemmons some $4,000 worth of equipment with nothing down, and helped him get the theater open. Kemmons managed to get the DeSoto Theater open in 1942 without so much as a down payment! He operated the Desoto Theater until 1948.
It appears that the commercial center of Fort Pickering, the town/suburb where the Desoto Theatre was located, has become industrial development and interstate highway. No trace of just about anything before the interstate construction remains. The old and new configuration may be seen in the above aerial from 1938.
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