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 13 comments)

HornerJack
HornerJack on December 29, 2005 at 11:20 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 9:34 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 7:46 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 8:12 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 8:46 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 12:18 pm

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 7:29 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 3:18 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.

TheatreOrgan
TheatreOrgan on April 18, 2014 at 8:56 am

Will, I researched my theatre organ books and material and could not locate the name of the theatre organ builder for the Belmont. I checked the opus lists of Wurlitzer, Kimball, Robert Morton, and Reuter, but didn’t see the theatre listed.

I do have a copy of a Tennessean Newspaper article from 12-20-25 in which Leon Coles had been ‘secured to preside at the console of the organ’ at the Belmont. With Hammonds not in production yet, one would assume it was a threatre pipe organ of some nature, especially for that section of Nashville in which the theatre was located. Belmont United Methodist, just up the street on 21st Ave. S., has a Reuter pipe organ, and the Hillsboro Theatre, a block away, had a Kimball.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on April 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

T.O. Here’s why I think it was a Reproduco. (will we ever know for sure?) The citation I start with is David Bowers' Encyclopedia of Automatic Musical Instruments, page 551, which shows an ad for Reproduco. It lists the Hillsboro Theatre in Nashville. However, the actual Hillsboro had a Kimball from the day it opened. It’s circumstantial evidence but my reasoning is: the Belmont theatre is in the neighborhood called Hillsboro, the Belmont was built by the Sudekum’s Crescent Amusement Company which installed Reproducos in many of their theatres and finally, those trade journal ads are notoriously semi-accurate. I have to admit being a little overly fascinated with Reproduco. They seem to have produced a huge number of instruments and yet are just one step above utterly forgotten.

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