Shawmut Theatre

Shawmut, AL 36854

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Shawmut had the city’s own first theatre simply titled the city’s name located between the Alabama and Georgia borderline. The Shawmut Theatre’s birth and early days has unknown details which had opened by as early as 1920. This means that the opening date hasn’t been not noticed yet.

During its early days, the Shawmut Theatre had some features that were more usual. During the dying days of the silent-era, the Shawmut Theatre has a stage set where performers come for re-enactment including rare special guests. The original marquee and remains lasted until about 10 years later on February 26, 1930. Extensive improvements were under completion in sound arrangements and the interior of the auditorium was remodeled. Additional additions were added as follows: 4 large exits were added for quick egress in case of an emergency, a new ticket office, and a larger stage just to name a few. The Shawmut Theatre turned into an all-talkies theatre during the change and Al Jolson’s “Say It With Songs” was the first to pick up with talkie a day later.

During the 1930’s, the Shawmut Theatre was operated by the Al-Dun Amusement Company, who later became Valley Theatres Incorporated which operated theatre in Lanett, Valley, Lafayette, Shawmut, Fairfax, Riverview, Alabama; and West Point, Georgia. The Shawmut Theatre was also used for special events such as performances, school events, and others during the 1940’s, but the theatre began to struggle when the 1950’s rolled along. The closing date is not known at all but had closed during the decade.

On March 20, 1959, public meetings were held at 7:30 P.M. EST at the former Shawmut Theatre to consider economic effects of the area to proposed Interstate highways which began 1½ miles southwest of a store entitled “Guy’s Store” which had listed the following: (SW ¼ of NW ¼ , Section 3, T-20 N, R 27 E, Lee County; and the project known as “Project I-85-I(3)67”, Opelika to Lanett, Alabama). This map was notable for the birth of Interstate 85 in the Lanett area which takes as east as Atlanta and as west as Montgomery. For local areas there, it extended from Shawmut and Plant City to the borders of both Alabama and Georgia which lasted for only a mile southeast of Lanett in Chambers County which could bypass or take people through unincorporated or incorporated towns, cities, or villages. That explanation was known to be the last story to demonstrate an event in or around the Shawmut Theatre.

Contributed by 50sSNIPES

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

robboehm on February 23, 2021 at 8:54 am

In 1980 Shawmut and three other textile mill villages, Langdale, River View and Fairfax, were incorporated into the City of Valley, AL. Theatres in each of these communities are on CT under their original community names.

In 1993 there was a report issued concerning the remaining 278 buildings of historic interest in Shawmut. The one at 3110 23rd Drive was reported to have been built on the site of the old village theatre. Presumably this one.

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