The story of the near loss and salvation of the Franklin Theatre proves that social communities can accomplish great things.
The Franklin Theatre began in the summer of 1937 when the marquee first illuminated Main Street, inviting Tennesseans to buy a ticket and laugh, cry and dream. Within those walls, moviegoers enjoyed fresh popcorn, afternoon matinees and first kisses. They walked away with a lifetime of memories.
Over the next 70 years, the world changed a lot, but the Franklin Theatre stood as a testament to a simpler way of life. Eventually time took its toll on the venerable movie house, and the doors closed in 2007 under the pressure of rising rent and the growth of mega-theaters.
After a long grass roots community effort to raise capital to save the theatre, the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County stepped up. Bolstered by a social community movement, the nonprofit preservation group stepped in to buy and rehabilitate the historic landmark. After three years of work and an investment of more than $8 million, the historic Franklin Theatre re-emerged restored to its art-deco roots.
The new Franklin Theatre continues the cherished tradition of showing movies, but also adds a new dimension to Main Street with live music, events and movie premiers. With a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system, and undeniable charm, the Franklin Theatre is destined to be an entertainment and cultural icon for years to come.