Belmont Theatre

2100 Blakemore Avenue,
Nashville, TN 37212

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Belmont Theatre

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The Belmont Theatre opened on August 25, 1925. On opening night the Beasley Smith Orchestra gave an innaugural concert. Crescent Theatres took over operations in 1960. It was closed and demolished in 1962.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

HornerJack
HornerJack on November 9, 2005 at 7:36 pm

The Belmont was an incredible place. It stood at 21st Avenue South and Blakemeore in Hillsboro Village. It’s architecture was Spanish / Moorish. As I recall, it’s lobby was rather small. The auditorium had rwo balconies. When a movie started, one set of curtains parted, another set raised up, then a third set parted. It was very theatrical.

I imagine it was Nashville’s first ‘suburban’ theater, located a couple of miles south of downtown. At the time of its construction in 1925, the area around Vanderbilt Univeristy was a real estate ‘hot spot’.

I’ve always been saddened by its demolition in the early 1960s. It was replaced by a hideously ugly office building.

I think this was the first theater built by the Sudekem brothers, who later went on to control the movie theater businesss in Nashville.

HornerJack
HornerJack on December 29, 2005 at 8:17 pm

There is a story that the Sudekum brothers designed the Belcourt on the sand in Florida while on vacation. As the theater wennt up, they realized that they had forgotten the projection booth. Surely this isn’t true, but, for whatever reason, way up on the back wall of the theater there was a room that projected out from the otherwise blank facade. This was the projection booth.

HornerJack
HornerJack on December 29, 2005 at 8:20 pm

Chuck are you sure it was Crescent that took over operations? I ask because this was the Sudekum Brothers' company, and they built the place. Was it Martin who took over the venue? It was Martin who bought Cresent Amusement.

TheatreOrgan
TheatreOrgan on April 13, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Leon Coles, Nashville organist, was employed as the Belmont organist on December 20th, 1925, with Arthur Henkel directing the orchestra. The theatre closed on March 15th, 1961.

Patsy
Patsy on November 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm

“When a movie started, one set of curtains parted, another set raised up, then a third set parted. It was very theatrical.” Sounds very nice and truly one worth saving with 1350 seats!

TheatreOrgan
TheatreOrgan on January 17, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Sadly, it has been 50 years now since the Belmont Theatre closed on March 15th, 1961.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 17, 2011 at 5:46 pm

Belmont sounds a lot like Augusta’s Modjeska with its Moorish style.wish there was a picture.

stan
stan on July 29, 2011 at 9:18 am

There was a comment that the Belmont opened with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. That orchestra didn’t exist until much later. A photo at the opening shows the marquee having the Beasley Smith orchestra played on opening night. Leon Cole could have played the organ but there was no organ in the floor as there was at the Paramount. I was the projectionist at the Belmont in 1946 and for several years afterward.

HornerJack
HornerJack on April 9, 2012 at 4:29 am

Stan, are you the guy who wrote that great story about the Belmont in The Nashville Retrospect in Feb 2012? If so, would you give permission to quote part of it on this site? Or post it yourself?

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 16, 2014 at 12:18 pm

HornerJack, I love the story you posted back in 2005 of the Sudekum brothers designing the theatre in the sand on the beach in Flordia. I’m guessing that wasn’t the final set of drawings! The tide would have come in and washed it away before the contractor could get in and count how seats to order. <> Seriously, the building codes in the 1920s were quite strict with movie theatres due to the quantity of flammable material in the projection booth and after the disaster at Chicago’s Iroquis Theatre. From day one, Mr. Holman would have known there was to be a projection booth in a movie theatre. There are any number of examples of theatres where the architects cantilevered the projection booth out as a method of fire protection. That in addition to all the projection booth codes for fire shutters, exhaust fans, fire extinguishers, a separate exit, rated walls, and a long list of other requirements.

On another note, there are a couple of references here to the organ at the Belmont, but I’m not finding anything in the literature of who built it. The Sudekums/Crescent Amusement bought a bunch of -ahem- modestly priced Reproduco organs. Surely a hall of this size and quality had a better organ than that.

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