Orange Street and N. Main Street,
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Previously operated by: Wilby-Kincey
Architects: Frank Pierce Milburn
Previous Names: Darlington Opera House, Carolina Theatre
During World War I, Earl Baxter, publisher of the News and Press, leased the Opera House in the Town Hall and opened the Liberty Theatre within. George Hendrickson bought the Liberty Theatre in 1919, and in 1921 Earl Baxter and Bert Prescott opened the Rex Theatre on Pearl Street. That same year a North Carolina chain acquired the lease on the Liberty Theatre and changed the name to the Carolina Theatre. This lasted only a short time, and George Hendrickson resumed operation of the Liberty Theatre. In 1929 a Western Electric sound system was added. Business was brisk, but as the Great Depression lingered, Hendrickson came close to closing the Liberty Theatre several times.
Wilby-Kincey Theatres bought a half-interest in the Liberty Theatre in 1936 and made major changes, advertising “Practically Everything New - Including the Phone Number.” Business improved and by the early-1940’s, holdout crowds were common. In 1948, Sam Irvin bought George Hendrickson’s share of the Liberty Theatre and began construction of the new Darlington Theatre on Pearl Street. The Liberty Theatre seems to have closed by 1965.
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