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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Amazing photos of the condition of Crossville's Palace Theatre taken in 1990

The Palace Theatre on Crossville's Main Street closed in 1978 after 40 years of operation.  At the end it was owned by a theater chain and as that chain was building the twin theater in Woodmere Mall they let the Palace go.  After it closed the building and property was sold with the restriction that for 10 years it could not be used as a theatre.

By 1990 Crossville's historic Palace Theatre had gotten so bad that the city was attempting to assess a daily $50 fine against the owner for violations of the slum ordinance.  At that time the Palace sat with many holes in the roof, parts of the interior collapsing, and a large flock of pigeons roosting in the rafters and doing what pigeons do.

It is hard to believe that the theatre, once in that kind of shape, has become the very active entertainment venue that it is today.

Former Crossville dentist Dr. John Stites was a member of the Cumberland Co. Board of Health in 1990 and said he went one day to see the condition of the building and document it.  Stites, an amatuer photographer, took a series of photos with color slide film.  Stites told us he had shared the photos with the members of the board of health at one of their meetings and added that he believed the board voted to condemn the building.  Stites said the board didn't really want to see the building torn down but mainly wanted the building cleaned up.

Special thanks to John Stites for sharing these amazing photos.

Palace front in 1990.  The sidewalk in front of the theatre was
closed for fear the marquee would fall.

Interior of Palace showing roof with holes and collapsing

Palace interior

Palace seats and interior

Palace stage area.  Before the renovation the stage was
much smaller.

There were a lot of pigeons living in the theatre...

The stairs to the balcony were originally under the balcony at
the rear of the auditorium but collapsed.

Shot of the roof upward showing it full of holes.

Seats that once held moviegoers.

Palace seats

Side door boarded up.

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