Port Theatre

314 Reid Avenue,
Port St. Joe, FL 32456

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CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 13, 2012 at 4:45 pm

A photo, probably from 1939 based on the film advertised on the poster: View link

DonLewis
DonLewis on November 27, 2010 at 9:44 pm

From the 1940s a photo postcard view of Reid Avenue along with the Port Theatre in Port St. Joe.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 22, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Here’s a brief item from the January 21, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine: “Port St. Joe, Fla.— The Port Theatre, which opened last June, reports good business at this point. The house seats 964 persons and is managed by Roy Williams. It is owned by R. E. Martin Jr., E. D. Martin and Hugh G. Martin. The same three also own a house at De Funiak Springs."

That’s the earliest mention of the Port I can find. I was hoping for something earlier that might give the name of the architect.

Several later mentions of the Port in various issue of Boxoffice are mostly trivial, though one from March 18, 1950, said that a cross had been burned in a vacant lot across from the theater, and the following day manager C.J. Brown received a threatening, anonymous note warning him not to show the racially-themed movie “Pinky” or to “…suffer the consequences.”

A June 28, 1965, item said “David Smith has acquired the Port Theatre at Port St. Joe, a former unit in the Martin circuit.” A December 19, 1965, item said that the Port had been closed by its owner, D. Rollyn Smith. A May 1, 1967 list of theaters reopened during 1966 included the Port. No word on how long Mr. Smith had kept the theater closed. After that, there are no more mentions of the Port that I can find.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 21, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Here is part of an August 2007 article from the News Herald:

About 60 people listened to an auctioneer sell the Port Theatre in Port St. Joe earlier this month. It was the final curtain for the historic building until its next reincarnation, but no one is saying what production that might be.

Apalachicola businessman Harry Arnold purchased the theater for $505,000 after a back-and-forth bidding spree against one other bidder. Port St. Joe businessman David Warriner was believed to be the other bidder. The structure has stood at 314 Reid Ave. in downtown Port St. Joe for 69 years, a literal shell of its former self for decades.

Although the theater fronts Reid Avenue, the manager’s apartment on the second floor of the building looks out over U.S. 98 and St. Joseph Bay. Wade and Paula Clark purchased the old building in 1995, holding auctions in the space for 11 years until they closed the doors in January and moved to Tennessee.

Built of brick and steel in 1938, the art deco-style theater was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2003. The theater’s new owner would not comment after the auction as to what might be in store for the historic building.

paulaclark
paulaclark on June 12, 2007 at 4:35 pm

The Port Theatre In Port St. Joe Florida is going up for auction on August 2nd to the highest bidder. The acoustics in the Port Theatre are incredible! It was built acoustically RIGHT for concerts.
If you want additional information on the auction, feel free to call Higgenbotham Auctioneers, International, LLC 863-644-6681. Probably in about a week or two, there will be flyers going out on this auction. For detailed information about the theatre itself, you could call my husband, one of the owners, Wade Clark at 931-629-4080 and he could tell you detailed information about condition, size, etc. We bought the Port Theatre in 1995 and spent 12 years working on it, and doing a weekly auction in it, until late last year. It’s in the center of the downtown in a lovely Gulf Coast town.

paulaclark
paulaclark on April 27, 2007 at 11:33 am

This theatre has been reduced to less than half the price it was previously. The current price is 750,000. It was listed at 1.85 million at one point, and has had two offers on it since that time. Owners would carry an owner contract for part of the price! Call Wade at 931-629-4080. This theatre is ready for someone to complete renovations! The area is very supportive of the arts, too!

paulaclark
paulaclark on April 11, 2007 at 2:41 am

PS I can’t figure out how to change the status of this. clicking the status only takes me to a list of other theatres with their status.

paulaclark
paulaclark on April 11, 2007 at 2:39 am

Yesterday, after very long negotiations over a two year period, including a written offer last November, the City of Port St. Joe backed off from buying this treasure, “until after the elections”. They had wanted to buy this gem to restore it more fully, and to use it to obtain grants for the downtown. The real estate market in Florida had a slump after Katrina, which didn’t help our goal to sell. We, the owners, currently live in Tennessee, and we have quit doing auctions in this Theatre. It is on the market, for sale by owner, at around half the last listed price. We need to sell, we want to sell, we are motivated to sell. Call Wade at 931-629-4080 for more information.

paulaclark
paulaclark on January 2, 2007 at 12:15 pm

If the status were to be changed, temporarily closed would be more appropriate. We will be doing a final auction in the building when we sell it, and if that isn’t soon then we will do one in the next couple months. We had a contract on this building in November of last year, but we couldn’t come to terms and agree enough to get to everyone signing. We do have a couple other interested buyers, keeping our fingers crossed! Good idea on a news item. I’ll give it some thought.

paulaclark
paulaclark on January 2, 2007 at 9:13 am

thank you, Lost Memory, for adding the above info on the Port Theatre. We are still trying to sell it! We have moved to Tennessee, so it is sitting empty now, not being used. We had regular auctions in it until recently. We would be willing to lease it, too, but it isn’t really in condition to use as movie theatre building as it is yet, unless someone had the equipment to bring in, etc.

paulaclark
paulaclark on May 15, 2006 at 8:29 am

Current news on this theatre is that it is back on the market, listed for sale, after being off the market since last fall. Price has been lowered, because owners wish to sell and move on. Boardwalk Realty in Port St. Joe is the company with the listing. http://eliduarte.com/ or look on www.loop.net for theatre listing.

paulaclark
paulaclark on January 15, 2006 at 4:33 pm

It would be interesting to hear more.

nooniebug
nooniebug on January 15, 2006 at 2:56 pm

My grandfather Judge T. Stillwell and my uncles were “the or some of the” brick masons that built the theatre.
All my life I have heard my daddy talk about going to Port St. Joe and staying in a rental house with his daddy and older brothers, daddy said he was only about five years old then. I can’t remember all the story but if anybody is interested….I’ll call and ask him.

paulaclark
paulaclark on August 26, 2005 at 5:14 am

cool photo. The Star newspaper published this photo for us out of the State archives, and we know the guy that owns that car in front of the theatre. thanks for sharing it here.

Still on the market, with property all around us going crazy as wildfire. We haven’t raised the price on this for nearly a year…..hoping to see it become a theatre again!

paulaclark
paulaclark on June 29, 2005 at 11:53 am

This theatre is still for sale as of today. We have an appointment to show it tomorrow and the City’s Downtown Redevelopment Committee has gone on record stating they wish to buy it and restore it for the City. Guess we’ll see what happens. We will miss living here once it sells, as the manager’s apartment is cozy and nice. BUT it’s time for someone with the funds and the energy to come in and restore it more. Please note the info above is incorrect now for the listing. You could email me, the seller, at if you wish to inquire about buying…..but it may be sold soon!

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on August 25, 2004 at 7:32 pm

is this theater still for sale

paulaclark
paulaclark on July 1, 2004 at 2:43 pm

This property is listed effective July 1st 2004 with agent John Mazzanovich, through Anchor Realty & Mortgage Co. 850-899-3600 is his cell phone number. He can be reached at also.

paulaclark
paulaclark on June 4, 2004 at 12:15 pm

Please see May 26th news article, archived on this site about the Fiddle Fest hosted in the building, and the acoustics. (2004)

paulaclark
paulaclark on June 4, 2004 at 11:24 am

The latest is that it is on the market, for sale. My husband and I own it, and hope someone will come along who will lovingly take this project from here and make more progress along that line. We have owned this building since 1995, and have used it for our business since 1996. Our business is an auction business, and we would like to see the building back to something closer to its original use. If you look at the fiddle fest news (other part of this website) you’ll see more info about the acoustics in the building. It was built right for acoustics.

paulaclark
paulaclark on June 4, 2004 at 11:23 am

The latest is that it is on the market, for sale. My husband and I own it, and hope someone will come along who will lovingly take this project from here and make more progress along that line. We have owned this building since 1995, and have used it for our business since 1996. Our business is an auction business, and we would like to see the building back to something closer to its original use. If you look at the fiddle fest news (other part of this website) you’ll see more info about the acoustics in the building. It was built right for acoustics.

jpaye
jpaye on June 4, 2004 at 9:16 am

What is the latest with this theatre? Is it up for restoration yet? Thanks.

jpaye
jpaye on June 4, 2004 at 9:15 am

What is the latest with this theatre? Is it up for restoration yet? Thanks.

jpaye
jpaye on June 4, 2004 at 9:15 am

What is the latest with this theatre? Is it up for restoration yet? Thanks.

paulaclark
paulaclark on May 27, 2004 at 3:56 pm

A recent visit to the County official who issues permits has revealed that thus far, no permit has been requested by the City for the neighboring property. It is our hope that the City of Port ST. Joe is considering a change of mind regarding the neighboring project!