The Georgia Trust

2010 PLACES IN PERIL: RITZ THEATRE

The Story: Prominently located on the courthouse square in Thomaston, the Ritz Theatre was originally built in the Mission Revival style in 1927, during the height of Thomaston’s economic growth. It was sold a year later, and the new owners altered the building, giving it an Art Deco façade.

Throughout its history, the Ritz Theatre has served Thomaston and surrounding towns as a home for the arts as well as an anchor on the downtown square. The Ritz Theater continues to show first run movies and serves more than 24,000 patrons annually. It also provides space for performances and special events to schools, churches, clubs, charitable organizations and private citizens.

The Threat: A leak in the front parapet wall has contributed to water penetrating the Art Deco facade. This water damage is causing tiles to deteriorate, posing a threat to the structure and to pedestrians on the sidewalk below. With the popularity of home entertainment and multiplex theaters, smaller historic theaters are at risk of becoming obsolete.

Since 1950, 114 of Georgia's 374 historic theaters have been demolished.  Without a renewed commitment to preserve and protect Georgia’s historic theaters, many more may be lost to neglect and disuse.

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