On the Road to Aberdeen: Elkin Theatre

Elkin Theatre

Aberdeen’s 1937 Elkin Theatre was designed in the Art Deco style by Robert Boller, the architect for 110 theaters in the southeast and midwest (Chuck Van Bibber, cinematreasures.org).  A 1960s remodel reduced the number of seats from 800 to 500.  Restoration and preservation of the theatre was begun in 1985 by a group of local citizens who formed the Aberdeen Elkin Theatre Association (Aberdeen Visitors Bureau).

Elkin Theatre postcard

…when the Elkin opened in 1937, it was considered one of the finest and best equipped theatres in the south. (Aberdeen Visitors Bureau)

theatre sign 2

The building is included on the National Register of Historic Places in the Aberdeen Downtown Historic District listing.  Architectural historian Harrison L. Stamm (1997) described the most unique feature of the theatre in the nomination form:

…deep parapet above the entrance features stepped sections culminating in six vertical brick ribs.  The sign, marquee, and parapet are in the Art Deco style.

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The theatre shows one current movie every Friday and Saturday night, and hosts exhibits, recitals, presentations, and community-wide meetings.  Another historic treasure saved not paved, and used not mothballed.

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3 Responses to On the Road to Aberdeen: Elkin Theatre

  1. Susan says:

    Great article, but the most interesting thing about the Elkin Theatre was the Elkins themselves. My aunt lived next door to them in the 40s and 50s and they were characters; they lived in one of those big old white homes (mansions to me) and, while I’m not positive I remember this correctly, I think it was a family home. I never met one of the brothers, a sweet man who died in the early 50s I believe, but I knew Arthur, Inez and Kathleen. Arthur was a big, jovial man who did not marry until very late in life – possibly after his sisters died. Inez was a widow – the war maybe? I don’t really know, maybe not. I remember her as short and quiet. Kathleen I remember as somewhat exotic looking and more imposing – I believe she never married. She wore a diamond ring (sometimes multiple rings) on every single finger – although I’m not sure if she wore one on her thumbs, it seems like she did. They all worked at the theatre – it was their life – not one of the four ever had children. Arthur worked the door, Inez the candy counter, and Kathleen sat out front in that ticket booth, passing tickets out with those ringed fingers! They were wonderful people and I am so grateful to the people who saved that piece of history.

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