Donelson Theatre

2815 Lebanon Pike,
Nashville, TN 37214

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Showing 17 comments

DavidZornig on June 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm

Two photos added, one is from 1946.

violet8308 on April 24, 2012 at 11:44 am

Yes, this theater was completely demolished, and a Thornton’s gas station was built over the site. I am curious what happened to the businesses there. Were they able to relocate, or did they just close down? I don’t think they were very profitable businesses, so I didn’t know if they were able to relocate- at least the ones on the one story side. The ramp up to Donelson Bowl is still there, behind the Thornton’s building.

RunRabbit on December 3, 2011 at 5:00 pm

As of Dec 3rd 2011 I noticed the old Donelson Movie Theater Bld. was completely torn down. I stopped by and got a couple bricks from the original bld. as I spent many a Friday night going to the (Show) as we would call it ,just for keepsakes , that was back in 1969-1973 , I was bout 12 back then and Im now 53. Lots of times instead of going inside to the show we would all just go and hang out outside behind the building by the ramp going up to the bowling alley and smoke and cuss and this and that !!! ,,, lol ,,, that was back in the good ole days.Yep and me too like Bauhaus Id sometimes get in the car with some of my older friends and cruise the Shoneys which is not there now either.

TLSLOEWS on February 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

Opened 1950 closed as a theatre in 1975.

LHumphries on October 10, 2010 at 6:05 am

The photo mentioned above is indeed of the refurbished building. I have owned the building since 1993 and been a tenant of it since 1991. Dr. Thomas Friddell had his medical practice there from the time it was converted until he retired about 3 years ago. Summitt Medical had bought his practice 6 years before and had built him a new facility at the Summitt Professional Building next to the hospital. He went and looked, but threatened to retire if they made him move. Once he retired the younger docs wanted the newer facility, so they moved. Inside, on the first floor you can remove panels of the Celetex drop ceiling next to the outside walls and see beautifully painted clouds against an azure blue sky with occasional flying objects—birds, balloons, planes. Ray & Gerry Campbells' AIM Insurance business has been in the building on the single story side for about 35 years. The barber had been there for about that long, but we found out he was cabbaging the electricity for his heat and AC from the two story side of the building. I actually lived in one of the upstairs offices for 3 ½ years (bathroom down the hall). The building looks nice enough, but the plumbing, heat & AC and electrical part of the building is not in good shape. So, you might want to take one last look before it disappears. No matter what happens to the building, one would hope that the beautiful rock wall surrounding it on three sides will be preserved. Donelson old timers have said that the wall was built by the CCC. The Donelson Bowl is still operating, but not profitably; so it too will likely disappear within the next few years. No one will miss the theater more than I will!

TLSLOEWS on July 15, 2010 at 12:53 pm

This theatre is listed as demolished,but it is still there it has been redone so that it looks nothing like a theatre now.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 17, 2010 at 11:50 am

TLSLOEWS, do you have any photos or ads from the paper.Another Martin Theatre?

TLSLOEWS on November 3, 2009 at 3:44 pm

This building was the Donelson Theater. It is an office building now.The bowing alley is still going I think.

bauhaus on April 21, 2007 at 11:26 pm

The entrance to the Donelson was catty-cornered to the intersection. I don’t remember much of the outside walls. Anyway, the theatre was a dump. Saw Georgy Girl there in the 60s. Made a mental note to make sure to check that a movie was playing somewhere else if it was playing at the Donelson. I didn’t live in Donelson, I lived off Murfreesboro Road, but we’d hit the Donelson’s Shoney’s when I was a teenager.

HornerJack on December 29, 2005 at 9:02 pm

I think it is the old Donelson. I am intrigued how buildings learn, how often times they do not resemble what that were built as. One personal favorite is The Mall at Green Hills, which looks very modern, but is, in fact, built around a fifty year old structure.

Anyway, the Donelson, Inglewood and Green Hills [now Garce’s Plaza] were fine examples of Cresent Amusement’s adroit move into the suburbs. Only the Green Hills did really well. [See separate entry.]

pinslasher on December 20, 2005 at 4:03 am

This theatre was build by Crescent Amuseument Company. The company also build the Donelson Bowl which is right next to it. (up the hill) The theatre was sold and converted into an office building.

Crescent Amuseument Company build a bowling alley near their theatres.
Inglewood Theatre- Inglewood Bowl
Melrose Theatre- Melrose Lanes
Donelson Theatre- Donelson Bowl

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on December 1, 2005 at 2:47 am

Jack, yes, everything you say agrees with what I remember of the building also. I was in Donelson last week and noticed it still standing and occupied (as an office). The photo just didn’t look quite right: similar, but somehow, different. I’ll follow up – at some point. Best wishes, Will

JackCoursey on November 30, 2005 at 2:48 pm

Take another view of the photo. The 2815 is listed vertically in the upper right of the building between the Allstate and the Cell C signs. I can’t say with absolute certainty that this is the theatre, but can give you what I know of this building:
It was built in 1950 and initially listed as the Donelson Theatre Building. I haven’t seen any record to date stating that this structure was ever demolished. One individual informed me that the theatre was gutted and the entire structure remodeled and rezoned from a theater/auditorium (54) to an office building (non medical/low-rise) (32) sometime between 1974 and 1979.
Please check it out and let me know your findings. It would be really great if someone could post a photo of the building when it was a theater.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on November 30, 2005 at 3:15 am

Jack, are you sure about that photo? I know the Donelson was converted to office use and it certainly doesn’t look anything like a theatre now, but this doesn’t look quite right. Next time I go visit mom I’ll double check. Also, the address doesn’t match. The building in the photo says 2812/2816. As a little kid I went to the movies here, but can’t remember anything of the interior at all. (We moved away from Donelson when I was 5.) What I do remember was driving by one day and seeing it being remodeled into office space and thinking it was sad to see the theatre gone.

As an aside to anyone who doesn’t know: Donelson is the name of the town that is the eastern suburban community from Nashville. It is now part of Metro Nashville. The name Donelson comes from Andrew Jackson’s wife – Rachel Donelson Jackson.

JackCoursey on November 14, 2005 at 3:14 pm

Here are a couple of recent photos of the Donelson Theatre. Danny52 is right on the mark in his comment that a casual passerby would never dream it was once a theatre.

Danny Proctor
Danny Proctor on October 22, 2005 at 5:51 am

I can remember seeing the 1951 movie THE MAGIC CARPET with Lucille Ball at the Donelson at a Saturday matinee sometime in the 1960s. Occasionally, local theatres would book an older movie and charge 10¢ admission. The building was on Lebanon Pike near the intersection of Donelson Pike. It still stands but was stripped down to the bare walls and converted and bricked over into an office building in the late ‘60s or early '70s. A casual passerby would never dream it once housed a movie theatre.