Roxy Theatre

827 Meridian Street,
Nashville, TN 37207

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Roxy Theatre

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Located in East Nashville. The Roxy Theatre opened in 1939 with a seating capacity of 500. It was operated by Crescent Theatres. In the 1950’s it was renamed Woodbine Theatre, after another theatre with that name had closed.

It closed as a movie theatre in July of 1960. By 1970 it was in use as a Laundromat. In 1980 it went through a renovation and reopened as the Roxy Production Center with a recording studio and a 240 seat theatre. Operated by music producer Aubrey Mayhew, it was known as AMCORP Music Group and was frequented by Johnny Paycheck and other Nashville based stars. Aubrey Mayhew closed the studio in the early-1990’s, but continued living in the theatre building until his death in 2009.

The theatre’s future continues to be threatened by years ov vacancy and recent real estate speculation in the area. Recently, a volunteer group has organized to bring attention to the theatre. ‘Save the Roxy’ is a grassroots movement dedicated to preserving the memories, heritage, stories and places connected with the Roxy Theatre and surrounding structures.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 24 comments)

deecee
deecee on February 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

You are welcome Lisa. I grew up in the area. I barely remember the theater being open but remember going to the speedwash that was in the building. My older brother and several of my uncles worked at the Roxy.

Dave, I had no idea that you had Northeast Nashville ties. I remember going to Mr. Roark’s home, after he retired, with my Daddy.

jacobailey
jacobailey on June 17, 2012 at 4:16 pm

in 1915 a made in Nashville silent era movie entitled “ Sam Davis- A hero of the Sixties” played at the Parthenon theatre on june 5 1915.In part it was filmed at Travellers Rest plantation.Lillian Nicholson Sharon wrote the screenplay.My relative Joshua Brown was in the movie and was an actual Coleman Scout in the civil war.Looking for images from this historic movie.in Nashville paper 05-30-1915 article appears about movie and Hap Sudekum, Lucille Wilson Sudekum and Joshua Brown were shown as cast members. Lucille was wife of Harry Sudekum and Hap was brother of Harry.Talley Bailey

DavePrice
DavePrice on June 17, 2012 at 4:49 pm

The Parthenon does not have a page here. It was at 411 Church St and only lasted about a year from mid-1915 to mid-1916.

Harry Sudekum died young in 1930. His widow Lucille did not die until 1954 but is buried or entombed with him in the old Mausoleum at Spring Hill. Harry managed the Princess in its early days.

Clarence"Hap" Sudekum was the youngest of the Sudekum brothers and managed the Roxy all through the 1940s.

Chakra7
Chakra7 on October 15, 2016 at 4:31 pm

http://www.savetheroxy.org/index.html

DavePrice
DavePrice on October 15, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Chakra7: That’s a very interesting site. They mention the Imperial which was at 307 Wilburn, next door to where the Roxy was later built. It was only open a few years and by about 1920 the owner Mr M E Hutton went into the drug store business.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 15, 2016 at 8:30 pm

DavePrice: A comment on this theater by deecee from August 10, 2009, gives 307 Wilburn as the address of a house called the Rainbow Theatre, listed in 1928. This is the address of the Morris Jacobs building, an historic structure which has recently been restored.

DavePrice
DavePrice on October 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

Thanks, Joe. I had forgotten that. One W R Carnahan is listed in the 1928 City Directory as manager. Only listed that one year. Many of these short-time houses have been forgotten or overlooked. Dave

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 16, 2016 at 3:34 pm

After studying the photos in the Roxy history to which deecee linked on February 10, 2011, I’m doubtful that the Imperial/Rainbow was in the Jacobs Building, even though that building now uses the address 307 Wilburn. The caption of the photo from The Tennessean of September 13, 1914, says that there was a movie theater in the new building pictured.

Counting the doors of the storefronts, it’s clear that 307 at that time had to have been in the Roxy’s building, not the Jacobs Building. It would have been the last storefront in the building, past the second decorative pediment. The first storefront, 301, was the drug store. The second, a barber shop, was at 303, and the third, which would have been the grocery store mentioned in the caption, was at 305. Beyond the second pediment was a storefront mostly covered with brick, so that must have been the theater, at 307, with its entrance under the second pediment.

At some point after the Roxy was built, the addresses on the block must have been reconfigured and the Jacobs building given the number 307. This means that the Imperial Theatre of 1914 and the Rainbow Theatre of 1928 must have occupied what later became the screen end of the Roxy’s auditorium. You can see the sealed-up entrance of the original theater about midway down the wall of the Roxy in the photo above, although the pediments were removed when the wall was raised to accommodate the Roxy’s balcony.

I’m not sure what originally occupied the Morris Jacobs Building, but the Roxy history page says that in the 1940s the former drug store space on the corner of Meridian Street became Morris Dry Goods. Maybe it was the same Morris, and he moved his store to the corner for better visibility.

The 1914 photo caption also says that the architect for the building was C.A. Ferguson. It also says that Crescent Amusement bought the building in 1936, and the Roxy was opened before the end of 1937.

DavePrice
DavePrice on October 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Joe: You must be correct- the article about the stores in the long building says it is at the corner of Meridian where the Roxie entrance was by the time I used to go there.

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