Helping businesses and cities rescue historic spaces like the abandoned White’s Theater in Uptown Greenville is one of the ways that Ron Harrell & Associates is helping to revitalize our fair city. White’s Theater is a cultural cornerstone of Greenville. It was built by Samuel Tilden White in 1914 and until 1926 it hosted a new and innovative and art form called “moving pictures”.
The first of many remodelings took place in 1930, and included an electrifying addition — sound equipment. The newly named State Theater hypnotized Greenvillians with an entirely different kind of film — the talkies! Movies with sound.
Over the next 60 years the theater evolved, devolved, and changed hands several times. As The State Theater, it operated until 1956, patrons enjoy phonograph records during intermission, until it was supplanted by two other increasingly popular pass-times — “television” and “drive-in movies.” After it closed, the once grand theater sat empty for four years.
Stewart & Everett reopened “The State” in 1960 and in 1971 commissioned an extensive remodel and renamed it “The Park”. Around 1982, The Park became a $1.50 “second run” movie theater. Carmike took over in 1986, raised weekend prices to $2.00 in 1996 but by 1998, movie goers were finding themselves drawn to “megaplexes”, more plush theaters with better technology. In 1998, the theater closed again, this time seemingly forever. This important piece of Greenville’s history sat empty, abandoned, decaying, for 20 years. That is, until a dedicated group of arts lovers, historians, and dedicated citizens committed to raise the money to save and re-open the theater. Through the efforts of many in the Greenville community, the new Uptown Theater, a multipurpose community performing arts center, is slated to re-open in 2017!
If old buildings could tell stories, White’s Theater, now Uptown Theater, would be the story of changing technologies, changing communities, and the changing nature of modern day story-telling.
Read more about the renovations here: