Ashland Theatre

203 England Street,
Ashland, VA 23005

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Ashland Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ashland Theatre, which was built in 1940, sits directly on Route 54 (England Street) in a ‘Mayberry-like’ town. Its facade has a distinct Art Moderne tower with glass block. In a small adjoining building was a cafe.

Rumor has it that two of the four doors on the side of the cafe were originally African-American-only restrooms. Operated as a second-run movie house until about 1998, when it still had its old Century projectors in place. Saw some ocassional use once again from 2005 until 2007 with film screenings and live events.

Contributed by Ed Worthington

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

jeffconn on December 9, 2007 at 4:41 pm

More info and photos of the Ashland here:
The theater is “currently CLOSED due to repairs.”

longislandmovies on March 5, 2008 at 9:18 pm

theater for sale …loopnet

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 14, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Still for sale. LoopNet gives a seat count of 330 and year built as 1940.

longislandmovies on June 14, 2008 at 10:45 pm


Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 15, 2008 at 8:58 am

Those type of listings make me suspicious. Sometimes the asking price is so high that they won’t publish it. You have to contact the real estate to receive the “sticker shock”.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on June 4, 2009 at 5:44 pm

This is another 1982 photo.

chris_flash on June 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

My buddy was interested in buying this place about 3 years ago, but when we inspected, we found that asbestos needs to be removed from the heating + cooling system. The seller refused to adjust his price to allow for the removal, so the deal fell through.

The interior lobby and bathrooms are in nice shape, but the projection area needs updating and there is no real concession area, due to there being a café adjoining the theater back when it was built.

Outside, on the eastern side of the theater, there are remnants of old washrooms, like the kind you see at gas stations, so the story about “colored only” bathrooms may be true.

It’s a great old theater, but it needs at least $50-100k to get it right, and that doesn’t include the asbestos removal.

Robert L. Bradley
Robert L. Bradley on August 24, 2013 at 1:14 pm

I worked at the Ashland in the late eighties as a projectionist when it was a dollar theatre. They had Brenkert projectors with 6000-foot reels and Brenkert arc lamps that had been converted to xenon. The screen was curved. There was no curtain and the masking was opened and closed manually. The flat picture (1.85:1) was beautiful, but the scope picture was barely wider than the flat picture and a lot was cut off on both sides. Getting a sharp focus was impossible. The house lights along the upper side walls didn’t work, so a couple of amber spotlights on the back wall lit the theater. The reason it closed is that the landlord raised the rent to where the theater couldn’t be profitable. The outside front of the building was beautiful at night when the colored neon inside the glass bricks was turned on.

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