Roxy Theatre

827 Meridian Street,
Nashville, TN 37207

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DavePrice on October 16, 2016 at 6:50 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 16, 2016 at 6:34 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 on October 16, 2016 at 9:25 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 15, 2016 at 11:30 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 on October 15, 2016 at 8:19 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.

Chakra7 on October 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

DavePrice on June 17, 2012 at 7:49 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.

jacobailey on June 17, 2012 at 7:16 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 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

deecee on February 12, 2011 at 4:21 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.

lisanearroxy on February 11, 2011 at 7:21 pm

@Debie…I live in the immediate area of The Roxy and wanted you to know that I ran across your piece today. I’ve had it distributed to the surrounding East Nashville neighborhood associations…so you may hear from some of them, hopefully. Thank you for sharing the history.

I’m not sure if you were aware of this when you wrote the piece, but here is a link regarding the Roxy in 2011. We ARE planning to see its “glory” return…hopefully. Here is a recent piece from The Tennessean on the plans…
View link


DavePrice on February 11, 2011 at 12:03 am


That is an excellent piece on the old Roxy and its neighborhood.

In 1923 my mother’s family briefly lived across Meridian from this property and she attended Glenn School nearby. Then some years later one of her sisters lived several blocks up Meridian from this point when she was married to Paul Roark, the son of the barber you mention. During those years I have attended the Roxy with my cousins, the children of the Roarks.

The Roxy business district used to be a very nice safe area and I hope the new owners will return that to the neighborhood.

DavePrice on September 18, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I am not familiar with another Roxy on 6th Ave. Any info is welcome.

I once nearly got kicked out of the Roxy by putting my feet on the seat in front of me.

TLSLOEWS on August 11, 2010 at 1:16 pm

There was another Roxy in Nashville but it was downtown,saw a photo of it last night on NPT Channel 8, I believe it was on 6th ave.It is not listed on C.T.

TLSLOEWS on July 12, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Some confusion here with the Roxy/Woodbine connection. Woodbine is in south Nashville and the Roxys address is in East Nashville, maybe they just used that name Woodbine at the east Nashville location at some time. Any more info would be great.

TLSLOEWS on June 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Good I will check it out since I live pretty close.

JackCoursey on March 21, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Great news! Plans are underway to restore the Roxy to its former glory: East Nashville’s Roxy reborn from the March 9, 2010 edition of the Tennessean.

deecee on August 10, 2009 at 7:41 am

Crescent Amusement Co. purchased the property at the corner of Meridian and Wilburn in 1936 and the adjoining lot for parking, that fronts on Meridian St. and runs back to the alley, in 1937. The Roxy Theater opened about 1937 and first appeared in the Nashville City Directory in 1938. Before the theater was on the property, there was a pharmacy in the early days and later a dry goods store. The dry goods store was continued in the front of the building at the corner of Meridian and Wilburn until the mid 1950’s. This section of the building is one story with a basement. The theater was in the back two story section of the building at 303 Wilburn St. and the entrance and marquee was part of the way down the side of the building on Wilburn. The theater closed 1957-58 and by 1959 Nashville Revival Center is listed at the address. In 1960 there was a self service coin laundry in the space where the dry goods store had been. I seem to remember that a couple of years before the theater closed that it moved into the space that had been a storefront and a new entrance to the theater was opened at the corner but that may be wrong. My brother worked there until 1954 or ‘55 and the entrance was still on Wilburn at that time.

There was no theater listed at the address before the Roxy appeared in Nashville City Directories in 1938. There was a Rainbow Theater at 307 Wilburn in 1928 gone by 1931. This address is down Wilburn across the alley from the Roxy building. The Rainbow Theater shared a building with a dry cleaning business that remained for several years after the Rainbow Theater closed.

I found the same information as a previous poster. There was a Woodbine Theater in Woodbine on Nolensville Road in the Nashville Directory on Nolensville Road in the late 50’s and the Roxy is on Wilburn at that same time. If someone has any kind of documentation that the Roxy was ever called the Woodbine Roxy please post.

StormyTnMan on June 9, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I’m not sure why the posters think the Roxy was called Woodbine Theater. During the years posted 1955-60, the Woodbine Theater is listed in Nashville City Directories an being on Nolensville Road. The Roxy closed about 1957 and by 1959 was being used as a church.

kencmcintyre on April 25, 2006 at 7:22 pm

I posted Jack’s picture on the Woodbine page as I had a question about the address. I should have proceeded in alphabetical order.

JackCoursey on June 20, 2005 at 8:56 pm

The entrances and marquees reflect the changes in the operation of the theatre. During the period it was called the Woodbine (est. 1955-1960), the entrance was on Meridian Street. When it was called the Roxy (est. 1940-1955), the entrance was on Wilburn Street. I believe that the Tenesseean (Nashville’s daily) has at least one photo of the theatre made when it was in operation, but the copyright charge to have it posted on the web is a bit costly.

JackCoursey on June 20, 2005 at 10:40 am

Here is a current photo of the former Roxy/Woodbine. Note the street names on the corner sign: View link

JackCoursey on March 7, 2005 at 10:52 pm

Did this theatre ever go by the name Woodbine? I found a listing for a theatre with an address of 302 Wilburn St, which is in the same geo area as 827 Meridian St.