The Franklin Theater, its History, Memory and Nostalgia



The Franklin Theatre & its History

A busy Saturday afternoon in front of the Franklin Theatre, c1949. Image courtesy of the Williamson County Historical Society.

The Franklin Theatre in Franklin, Tennessee began in the summer of 1937 when the marquee first illuminated Franklin’s old Main Street. Moviegoers purchased a ticket often to escape the realities of life to laugh, cry and imagine.
The old stage and silver screen has provided local residents with a lifetime of memories, including soda pop, popcorn and many even a their first romantic evening.

The restoration of The Franklin Theatre is the one historical  project of preservation that had enormous support from residents and public officials of Franklin and Williamson County. The beautiful old theater host the most nostalgia than any other historic building.

The Franklin Theatre contributes to the cultural and economic vitality of Williamson County attracting thousands of guests each year.

The Show Is Only The Beginning

Original movie post of the first feature film shown at The Franklin Theatre, Night Must Fall, c1937.

The Franklin Theatre’s dramatic history began in 1937 with the movie “Night Must Fall”. The theatre over time fell into disrepair and closed in 1989. With the community’s concern and local buy-in the theatre was acquired, renovated by the Heritage Foundation in 2011.

The beautifully restored theatre’s art deco-inspired architecture boast 300 comfortable seats. 

According to, Franklinite’s who grew up in the 1940s, 1950s, and the 1960s, have fond memories of the “picture show.” Saturdays, a popular day for kids, often showed a Cowboy movie preceded by a cartoon or a serial. The concessions offered cold drinks, buttery popcorn, and sweets. But with every passing decade, small town movie theaters faced competition from drive-ins, big screen multiplex theaters, and television.

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