Princess Theater

111 Cumberland Street E,
Lebanon, TN 37087

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Princess Theater

The New Lyric Theatre was opened prior to 1908, and was still open in 1926. It was later renamed Princess Theatre. The shell of the Princess Theater is located a half-block off the town square. It was converted to retail space in the 1950’s. The Vitrolite Art Deco facade was intact into the 1980’s though any trace of a marquee was long gone even then. The Vitrolite facade was removed, no doubt the current owner hoping to find a buried architectural treasure. What he found was a blank brick wall without even the mortar joints raked.

Located in mid-block, there was no other outstanding architectural feature. The interior is gutted and the floor leveled.

Grandmother remembers seeing silents there accompanied by an organ.

Contributed by Will Dunklin

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

JackCoursey on April 3, 2006 at 10:03 am

Here is a current photo of what remains of the Princess.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 3, 2006 at 11:51 am

Jack, thanks for the photo. I notice the dates 1945-1955 on the image. Are these the operating dates of the Princess? Grandma might have been wrong about which theatre she saw films in. Or maybe this building replaced an earlier one. Grandma has been gone for many years now, too late to ask for additional details.

JackCoursey on April 3, 2006 at 1:31 pm

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I know never to doubt ones grandmother. These dates are the years the theatre appeared in the Film Weekly Journal Yearbook. This building, which formerly was the Princess, was built in 1900, years before the FWJY came to print (your inquiry prompted me the change the dates on the photo). From what I have been able to gather so far is that the Princess was in operation during the 1920s and possibly earlier.

kencmcintyre on April 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm

In the late 1940s the Princess and the Ritz in Lebanon were part of the Crescent Amusement Company, headquarted in Nashville.

TLSLOEWS on July 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

Yes thats right Ken mc.

lindaida on August 1, 2013 at 10:10 am

My name is linda Harris and on the behalf of Russell Witt 11 Iam pulling information together about his father and the auto polo event. If you have any infomation and or pictures please share. Send it to my facebook page linda harris or e-mail . Send it to Witt Sign Co. P. O. Box 784 Lebanon TN 37088-0784 Thank You, Linda Harris

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 23, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Two old references to theaters in Lebanon might or might not refer to the Princess. One is from The Moving Picture World of May 3, 1913:

“Lebanon, Tenn. — W. B. Scales, of Shelbyville, who has recently moved his family here, opened his new theater at this place. This makes the second moving picture and vaudeville house for Lebanon. The other one ‘The New Lyric’ is owned by E. E. Adams and is leased by L. B. Long, formerly of Cookeville.”
The other item is from the December 23, 1922, issue of The American Contractor:
“Lebanon, Tenn.—Theater (M. P.): Public sq., Lebanon. Archt. Marr & Holman. Stahlman bldg., Nashville, Tenn. Owner Crescent Amusement Co., Tom Sudekum pres., 5th av., N., Nashville. Archt. selected.”
The New Lyric Theatre mentioned in the first item was a 662-seat house that was listed in the 1913-1914 Cahn-Leighton guide, but it was mentioned in Variety at least as early as 1908. Any of these three theaters (assuming the Crescent project of 1922 was carried to completion) could have been the house that became the Princess.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 29, 2014 at 8:59 am

David Bowers' book “Encyclopedia of Automated Musical Instruments,” page 551 has a list of installations of Reproduco pipe organs. That list mentions the Howard Theatre, Lebanon, Tennessee. Never heard of the Howard myself. Any thoughts? Wonder if it was a short lived name for this hall?

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 16, 2014 at 9:42 am

LM – You’re a genius. you know that don’t you?

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on May 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

The March 1913 Sanborn map of Lebanon calls this building the New Lyric Theatre, showing a respectable stage but listed as showing motion pictures.

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