405 E. MAIN ST. / THE HOLLYWOOD THEATER

405 E. MAIN ST. / THE HOLLYWOOD THEATER

405
,
Carrboro
NC
Built in
1935-1939
/ Modified in
1957
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

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Last updated

  • Tue, 09/26/2023 - 4:29pm by SteveR

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405
,
Carrboro
NC
Built in
1935-1939
/ Modified in
1957
Construction type: 
,
Neighborhood: 
Type: 

 

The Hollywood Theatre, May 1940 (photo by Jack Delano, courtesy of the Library of Congress)

 

The Hollywood Theater was located in Carrboro on East Main Street (also known as West Franklin Street at the time), near the merge with Rosemary Street. It began operation in 1939, and was opened to cater to Black patrons at the same time the Standard Theater closed down (actually, the Standard apparently closed due to the loss of patrons to the Hollywood). E. Carrington Smith, manager of the segregated Carolina Theater in downtown Chapel Hill, was the proprietor of the theater, and its manager was Kenneth Jones at the time. In the early 1940s, weekly attendance was about 1,300 to 1,500 people, and the theater was open every day except Sundays. 

December 1940

The Hollywood Theatre, October 1939 or April 1941 (screen shot from H. Lee Waters movie)

"Movies of Local People" shown at the Hollywood Theatre, April 1941 (screen shot from H. Lee Waters movie)

 

The North Carolina photographer and movie maker, H. Lee Waters, filmed a quantity of footage on the border of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, and his movies were shown at the Hollywood Theater on October 6th and 7th, 1939 and in April 1941. 

Ad from December 1944

Sanborn map excerpt, December 1945

 

The theater's later owner manager J. Wesley "Wes" Thompson.

In 1957 the theater building was listed as vacant in the city directory, with part of it likely becoming "Ben's Place," a soda shop operated by Ben Baldwin. As downtown Chapel Hill theaters didn't begin to integrate until 1961, I'm unsure of why the Hollywood closed down.

Former Hollywood Theater, circa 1975 (image via Chapel Hill Historical Society via Images of America - Carrboro)

 

The building changed addresses over time, within the 407 to 409 range between 1957 and 1980 (according to city directories). It also spent a lot of time vacant. It was the offices for a rug cleaners in the 1960s. Charlie Stancell owned/operated an antiques/used furniture store in the building from circa 1971 to 1980.

The building is currently (2011) utilized as office space and an artists' studio.

Former Hollywood Theater, August 2011 (photo by S. Rankin)

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