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Thanks for the update on the address, PTB! And to Joe et. al., I’m pretty sure that the building at 419 E Main WAS The Clayton Theatre which my grandfather M. W. Knott managed from around 1939 until 1950 when he built The Clay a block away. There was no competition between the two theaters (trying to find the name of the owner of The Clayton, he owned several theaters in North Carolina) because that owner had decided to shut down The Clayton and lease the building out to another business. In 1950, especially with Raleigh only 15 miles to the northwest on US-70, a town of about 3,000 probably couldn’t have supported two theaters.
Note to site maintainers: Is there no way to correct errors other than in a comment? The address of The Clay Theatre was 321 E Main St, not 419.
Joe, the building that currently (as of 1/3/16) houses “Flowers by the Neuse” at 321 E Main was built by my grandfather, M. W. Knott, in 1950, and operated as a cinema until around 1959, at which point (people were beginning to drive into Raleigh for movies) he converted it into a roller-skating rink that operated until 1966 or 1967, at which point he sold the building.
M. W. Knott also managed a theater in Clayton (different building) for about ten years before building The Clay (yes, that was its name at 321 E Main), I’m trying to dig up some more info on that and will post along with some photos later.