Pocahontas Theatre

23 McDowell Street,
Welch, WV 24801

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Additional Info

Architects: Alex B. Mahood

Styles: Neo-Classical

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Pocahontas Theatre

Opened Christmas Day, 1928 in Welch, WV, “the heart of the billion dollar coalfields”. One of the first theatres to use indirect lighting in the auditorium, and, with its magnificent theatre organ, was called “The Showplace of McDowell County”.

Managed in the 1950’s by L.E. Rogers, who was mayor of Welch. Later, managed by “Buddy” Rogers, his son. The Rogers family was sued in the 1950’s by the film companies for under-reporting grosses at the Pocahontas Theatre and their other theatre in Welch, the Temple Theatre opposite.

The theatre was remodeled and prospered during the 1940’s and 1950’s, but when the coal boom ended, and as McDowell County lost 80% of its population over the next several years, it began to deteriorate. It was destroyed by fire (possibly an insurance arson fire) in 1978.

Contributed by Jarrell Greever

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

thegreev on September 16, 2006 at 12:38 pm

Here is a photo of the Pocahontas Marquee:

kencmcintyre on December 19, 2008 at 7:31 pm

There is an interior photo of the Pocahontas on this page:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 4, 2009 at 12:31 am

The West Virginia History page Lost Memory linked to says that Alex B. Mahood was the architect of the Pocahontas Theatre.

Mahood also designed a Jewell Valley Theatre in Jewell Valley, Virginia, which opened in 1944, according to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of August 18, 1945. The 350-seat house was the first movie theater ever built with radiant floor heating. I don’t find the Jewell Valley Theatre listed at Cinema Treasures.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

This web page has the transcript of an article about the Pocahontas Theatre from the December 22, 1928, issue of the Welch Daily News.

The Pocahontas Theatre was directly across the street from the Temple Theatre, which was in the Odd Fellows Temple building, built in 1929. The Temple Theatre’s space is occupied by a restaurant called Raymond’s, which the Internet says is at 24 McDowell Street. The address of the Pocahontas must have been about 23-25 McDowell Street.

DavidZornig on March 30, 2015 at 7:22 am

Crisper version of the 1946 photo added, courtesy of Hemmings Motor News.

JEDIII on January 26, 2016 at 1:31 pm

My grandfather, Dr. John E. Davis, had his medical office “over” the theater in the 1930s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 26, 2016 at 2:22 pm

I’m not seeing the photo linked by thegreev in an earlier comment (I don’t know if it’s gone or my browser simply isn’t fetching it) so I don’t know if this is the same one, but this 1963 photo shows the entrance and part of the marquee of the Pocahontas Theatre.

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