Belcourt Theatre

2102 Belcourt Avenue,
Nashville, TN 37212

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1925 theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Historic neighborhood theater opened as the Hillsboro Theatre in 1925. It was later the early home of the Grand Ole Opry, the Belcourt Theatre was saved by grass-roots efforts in 1999 and reopened in June 2000.

Contributed by Jim Ridley

Recent comments (view all 38 comments)

davidfhale
davidfhale on November 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm

DavePrice – I searched and couldn’t find the article. From some other searches, it seems Lou died in 1992 at age 81, and Mamie died in 2005 at age 92. It seemed like Lou knew almost everybody in town. He had the longest Christmas commercial reel of any Martin theatre, and the police would drive him to the bank to make the nightly deposit.

DavePrice
DavePrice on November 9, 2011 at 3:52 pm

David: I have the cut-out story but apparently failed to write down the date of it. A pic of Lou says “Banner Photo by Bob Ray,” so that tells us which paper. Mark Howard wrote the story caled, “Soft-Shoe, Popcorn Carts, & Marx Brothers.” There’s a mention on the back of Gov Alexander, so that helps with the date. Regards- Dave

vastor
vastor on August 19, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Just returned from a trip to Nashville and was interested in M A Lightman’s first big venture into the motion picture business in Tennessee. MALCO is still going strong in Memphis and elsewhere in the region. Executive Director Stephanie Silverman was very kind to me and took me into the side hallways and upstairs to get the glimpses of the 1925 plasterwork. It was fascinating and they are very proud of the theatre and its history. However, there is really no chance of any of this being brought to light since there is so much mechanical and other between the newer walls and ceiling and the old and it is an operating and prospering theatre. But at least we can see it. And the 1925 proscenium has been recently refurbished. I posted several new photos. The theatre still offers occasional stage fare. I understand there was never any grand street display at either the original Hillsboro entrance or on the Belcourt side. Old photos have not surfaced. The competing theatre, I believe the Belmont was its name, down the block (which forced the Lightmans out of the Hillsboro) is gone without a trace.

vastor
vastor on August 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Interesting note, the second auditorium looks very much like many of the Malco multiplex auditoriums in the 1970s.

DavePrice
DavePrice on August 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

Vastor: I hope you saw the name “Hillsboro” on the cornice of the old entrance. If you had walked inside you could still see sort of an atrium near the back of the present establishment, which served as a small lobby to the Hillsboro.

Imaxguy
Imaxguy on November 3, 2012 at 2:04 pm

I was a relief projectionist, and later for Carmike was a manager there. Had a weird experience there with “cold spots”. The janitor, Veronica Flemming, was from Jamaica and practiced Voodoo. She “cleaned” the theater in more ways than one!

TheatreOrgan
TheatreOrgan on December 16, 2012 at 7:42 pm

The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ, Vol.1, page 259, by David Junchen, published 1985, lists a Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ being installed in 1925. The organ consisted of two manuals/five ranks.

DavePrice
DavePrice on April 1, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Does anyone know what theater or theatre “Hobson’s Choice” played here in 1954?

JonKeller
JonKeller on February 12, 2014 at 8:40 pm

Hello, everyone on Cinema Treasures!

Just wanting to let you know, we at the Belcourt Theatre are currently putting together a historical tour of the building! (Yes, we’re very excited about it!) We’re still in the research phase, and while we already have a lot of information, we can always use more! If you have any information, photos, or stories about The Belcourt/Hillsboro Theater/Community Playhouse etc… please send them to

Cinema Treasures has already been a huge help to us in finding information. We can’t wait to show you all what we’re putting together! Thanks again.

Best,
Jon Keller

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on March 29, 2014 at 10:17 am

David Bower’s “Encyclopedia of Automated Musical Instruments” p. 551 lists the Hillsboro in Nashville Tennessee as having a Reproduco organ, but there is no date. Wonder if the Reproduco preceded the Kimball or was there an earlier theatre with the same name? Reproducos were mostly of the photoplayer variety, rather than fully developed theatre organs.

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