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Capitol Theater to be revived

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By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post

The Capitol Theater, located just off the west side of the historic Lebanon Public Square, has been several different things since it closed in 1978 including a furniture consignment store, but has mostly it has stayed vacant.

Not anymore. The building’s new owners intend to bring it back to its heyday.

That’s right. The Capitol Theater was sold Tuesday, Nov. 3, to Bob and Pam Black, of Lebanon, who intend to turn the old theater into an event center. The action will assist Mayor Philip Craighead in his mission to revitalize downtown Lebanon.

“Ever since we moved here eight years ago,” Black said, “I’ve loved the Capitol Theater. For a long time, the price just wasn’t right; but when the opportunity presented itself, we jumped on it.”

Black and his wife moved to Lebanon from Memphis. His wife is originally from Old Hickory.

He said that the previous owner of the building wanted to turn it back into a working theater, but with the slow economy, he was never able to accomplish his plan.

“He only sold it to us because we shared his dream of bringing the theater back to its heyday,” Black said. “We want it to be an event center to hold meetings as well as entertainment. We would rent it out for music video shoots, plays, musicals and weddings.”

Black said that they would have matinee showings of classic movies at least one weekend a month. He said that they could not have accomplished this without the help of Craighead.

“Philip shares this dream with us of making downtown Lebanon into a place people want to be,” Black said. “I think reopening the Capitol Theater is a key step in revitalizing downtown Lebanon.”

Black said that there was some work to be done on the building, but that he intended to keep the theater’s old style. The roof, he said, would be the first task followed by fixing up the marquee.

The Capitol Theater opened in 1949 as a part of the Martin chain. It closed when they opened the Martin Triple Theatre in the Kmart shopping center on West Main Street.

There was a restriction on the deed of sale that the Capitol could not be used as a theater for 20 years. The Martin Triple was closed by the opening of the Roxy in 2004 and is now a Dollar General Market.

“I’m glad that someone local bought the theater,” Craighead said. “I’m excited about his plans for the theater and for downtown Lebanon.”

Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at ben@wilsonpost.com.

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