Polk Theatre

121 S. Florida Avenue,
Lakeland, FL 33801

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Related Websites

Polk Theatre - Lakeland (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount Pictures Inc.

Architects: James E. Casale

Functions: Live Performances, Live Theater, Movies (Foreign), Movies (Independent)

Styles: Atmospheric, Italian Renaissance

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 863.682.7553

Nearby Theaters

Marquee of the Polk Theatre, Lakeland, Florida in 1930

Built in 1927 to the plans of architect James E. Casale, the Polk Theatre has a mezzanine, a high balcony, a permanent backdrop of a "Venetian piazza," an orchestral pit, high twinkling stars, a cloud-covered ceiling, and an exquisite terrazo floor. The air-conditioning system (the first in the county in the 1920’s) was a pump that used artesian well water to chill the building.

The Polk Theatre opened on December 22, 1928 with Pauline Frederick in “On Trial”. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks

Today, the 1,400-seat theatre is used for live performances as well as movies.

Contributed by Cathy Cook

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

Patsy on October 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm

The new marquees etc. are just fantastic compared to how this theatre’s exterior looked in 1988. Complete transformation!

Patsy on October 12, 2009 at 9:21 pm

In fact, the entire building was transformed with the lovely addition of awnings, etc. I wish more downtowns made use of storefront awnings rather than see them turned into a rusty place for bird’s nests.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

Nice write-up with pictures:

View link

AndyCallahanMajorMajor on July 24, 2010 at 10:39 am

Here is the theater in July 2010.

Patsy on July 24, 2010 at 2:07 pm

I’ve visited this theatre and it is a must-see when in Lakeland FL.

DavidZornig on April 23, 2014 at 3:11 pm

The Polk Theatre is doing a documentary about the Elvis performance in 1956. They are searching for people who attended the concert.


DavidZornig on April 23, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Just added photo dated April 30th 1927. J.E. Casale, Architect, Tampa G.A. Miller, Builder, Tampa Photo courtesy of The Polk Theatre Facebook page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 14, 2017 at 8:51 pm

It looks like the Polk Theatre had to be partly rebuilt twice before its opening in December, 1928, which may account in part for the original builder, John Melton, running out of funds. An article in the October 6, 1928, issue of Exhibitors Herald reported on the damage done to the region’s theaters by a recent hurricane. Several movie houses were severely damaged or completely destroyed, but the line about the Polk says “…the Polk at Lakeland lost its roof — for the second time.”

DavidZornig on August 6, 2020 at 1:12 pm

Scotty Moore’s website with many images of the Polk Theater. Studio & touring guitarist for Elvis. Coincidentally August 6, 1956 at the Polk.


Patsy on August 6, 2020 at 3:15 pm

David, A great link. Had to cut and paste then view the extensive info and fabulous photos. Thank you.

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