31 South Main Street,
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Winter Garden Heritage Foundation (Official)
Styles: Art Deco
Adapted to a former department store building in Winter Garden, Florida, the Gem Theatre was opened on September 27, 1941, as a movie house. At this date, Winter Garden had a U. S. Army searchlight batallion, and this theatre was added to downtown Winter Garden (in addition to the 1935 Winter Garden Theatre) to accommodate the movie going crowds.
The Gem Theatre was Art Deco to the hilt with an indoor box office located in a sweeping colorful partition that also kept outside light from hitting the screen. Concession products were brought in on demand from the other downtown theatre. The Gem Theatre gave up the ghost in 1949. Today, the marque, built of concrete, still stands. The projection booth is still intact, but the auditorium section of the building has had many uses since the theatre closed.
In 2002, Jim Henson Productions used the Gem’s facade in its production of “Kermit’s Swamp Years”.
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