Center Theater

1427 East Morehead Street,
Charlotte, NC 28203

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Center Theater

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Center Theater was built in 1948 and opened with the film “The Saxon Charm” with Susan Hayworth. As a neighborhood theater is seldom got the blockbusters the downtown theaters showed. It specialized in smaller action films and black films of the 1960s and 1970s. In March of 1977 it closed, it’s future unsure.

Kermit High, a local manager of several other theaters, renovated and re-opened the Center Theater in August of that year. Sometime in the early-1980’s the theater was destroyed to build a small strip mall, which was destroyed in 2004 for the construction of a greenway. In the 1960’s the Center Theater was owned by the Eastern Federal chain.

The exterior was a wonderful funky Art Deco style. The theater was located on the edge of the Myers Park neighborhood, across from the Charlotte Memoral Hospital (now Carolinas Medical Center). A twelve story doctors building used to be across the street. As I child I remember looking out a 12th story window down onto East Morehead Street when I visited the eye doctor. There was the Center Theater. I don’t miss the medical building, which has also been demolished, but I do miss the Center Theater.

Contributed by RobbyfromCharlotte

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

The January 4, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Erle G. Stilwell was the architect of the Center Theatre. The rendering in the magazine showed a four-story business building as part of the project, but the photos at Flickr show what looks like a theatre without any upper floors. The project must have been scaled down. The rounded marquee is the same in both, though.

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on March 23, 2009 at 6:25 pm

It was part of a small row of buildings & this was typical of Eastern Federal – building a theatre as well as some other store fronts to rent out. The theatre did have a second story where the manager’s office and restrooms were & I would guess a balcony too. It was often plagued with flooding problems due to its neighbor, Little Sugar Creek. I do have a photo of my father counting the money in the manager’s office. Will try to post it to my flickr account sometime within the next week. Thanks for the info about the architect!

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on May 6, 2009 at 5:59 pm

Unable to get to first link so didn’t try 2nd one. Were these photos just before it was demolished?

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 6, 2009 at 6:25 pm

Try those links tomorrow. The American Classic website is having problems and none of the photo links to that site are working right now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 3, 2010 at 12:29 am

With regard to my comment of March 11, 2009, I’ve found that the proposed Center Theatre in Charlotte designed by Erle Stillwell (rendering at upper right here) was never built, and was never intended for this Morehead Street location. Comparing the rendering to the photos recently posted, it’s clear that these were two different projects.

The Center Theatre on Morehead Street was apparently designed by Charles C. Benson. The only reference in Boxoffice citing Benson as the architect of the Center was an article in the issue of February 1, 1947, at which time the proposed Meiselman theater at this location had not yet been given a name, but the item said that Benson had drawn the plans for it. Later items in 1947 and 1948 report on the project and give the same location and general description of the building as the February item, and give the name Center.

Construction of the Center was delayed due to post-war restrictions on building materials, as was the case with many projects during that period, but I’ve found nothing to indicate that the original design by Benson was not carried out.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm

1974 on the marquee is “BUCKTOWN”.

firstmom1982
firstmom1982 on May 26, 2011 at 10:55 am

Patricia, you’re right – the Center wasn’t right across the street from Carolinas Medical Center, but just two blocks down Kings Drive.
When I was a little girl, my mother worked for radio station WIST selling air time, and two of her accounts were the Manor and Center Theaters. I got to see an awful lot of free movies!

PatriciaCarol
PatriciaCarol on February 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm

firstmom1982 – my mother worked at WIST too (about 1970) but only for a little while. I remember seeing “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” at The Center – and being a young teen I found it very romantically-dramatic at the end – my mother, a fan of both Ian Fleming and Sean Connery panned it (as most of the critics did). I loved the upstairs of The Center. My father and mother were courting in the days he managed the Center – gave her a surprise birthday party there after hours.

raysson
raysson on July 11, 2013 at 7:01 am

Otto Preminger’s EXODUS was an Exclusive Carolina Showing Engagement at the Center Theatre on May 26,1961. It was the only showing of the film in the two Carolinas.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 7, 2014 at 5:00 pm

The 2009 comment that contained links to the 1984 American Classic photos of the Center Theater appears to have vanished. Here are new links.

Photo1

Photo2

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater