Empire Theatre

42 Georgia Avenue SW,
Atlanta, GA 30315

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Universal Chain Theatrical Enterprises Inc.

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Empire Theatre

The Empire Theatre was opened March 19, 1928 with George Sidney in “The Cohen’s and the Kelly’s in Paris”. The same firm who did the Erlanger Theatre allegedly designed it. It was closed in the 1950’s and demolished in the mid-1960’s.

Contributed by Jack Coursey

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

agnesbry on January 23, 2016 at 10:54 pm

Hi, I remember the Empire theatre, in fact, the reason I am on this site because. I am writing a piece about the time my father had walked my brothers and me too the Empire theatre. This was doing the time, that Black Folk could only sit in the loft of the theatre, same as it was at the Fox, downtown Atlanta. Late 50’s & early sixties. The area wasn’t a slum back then, in fact lots of Jewish families lived in this area. There was the 5 and dime, and H&H Green stores across the street. Georgia avenue had lots of small stores. Hardware and grocery stores. The area later was given the name Summerhill. Take it from the strawberry ice cream was the best, funny this the was shape like a block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 24, 2016 at 5:18 am

agnesbry: I think the block-shaped ice cream you mentioned must have the same kind that was sold at the concession stand in the neighborhood theater I attended in southern California in the 1950s. It came in a cardboard package about two inches square, and the concession stand attendant would peel off the package and stick the block of ice cream into a regular ice cream cone, with one corner down. You had to be careful with the first few licks or you could dislodge the block of ice cream and it would fall in your lap. I had completely forgotten about that ice cream. Thanks for reminding me of it.

PlazaChris on October 21, 2018 at 8:50 am

I don’t believe it was demolished. Can someone else check the map location? While certainly the marquee is gone, the building on that site looks like it used to be a movie theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm

PlazaChris: Google Maps' pin icon shows this theater at the corner of Georgia Avenue at Fraser Street, but if you look at the ad for the 1928 grand opening on our photos page it says the Empire was on Georgia Avenue at Crew Street. Crew was two blocks west of Fraser. We probably just have the wrong address for the theater. The Empire’s site is under part of the Georgia State Stadium project, and the intersection itself doesn’t even exist anymore. I don’t know what the building at Georgia and Fraser used to be, but it wasn’t the Empire Theatre.

JohnnyC. on October 21, 2018 at 7:14 pm

The complimentary ticket in the photo section gives an address of 42 Georgia Ave. SW. Google will map that address to 42 Georgia Ave. SE. Perhaps there was a Georgia Ave. SW at one time. The 1951 film daily also gives an address of 42 Georgia Ave. SW. for the Empire theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 21, 2018 at 9:29 pm

It looks like Hank Aaron Drive is the dividing line between SW and SE numbers. Georgia Avenue now makes that curve between Hank Aaron and Pollard Boulevard, where it once ran straight, crossing Crew Street midway between them. 42 Georgia Avenue SW was undoubtedly the correct address, but when you search for it on Google maps it defaults to the 42 Georgia SE location because the SW address no longer exists.

birdie1924 on January 23, 2019 at 10:48 am

I remember the Empire Theater well, I remember the ticket prices were fifteen cents or a dime if you used a capitola flour token, popcorn was a nickel those were the days my mother took me to the Empire theater back in 1945 or 1946.

JFB on February 10, 2019 at 10:41 am

There is a building on the block that the Empire was located. It is a yellow building with a funky mural painted on the side. I thought at one time that this was the Empire. I do believe the Empire was a yellow building but it appeared to be on the opposite end of the block across from what is now Georgia State Stadium.

PlazaChris on May 23, 2019 at 9:52 pm

The building on that block (that is where modern day 42 Georgia Ave SE) is but is the result of a search at 42 Georgia Ave SW) definitely looks like it was a movie theatre. It has the right height, no windows (although Carter cut new windows in it—if you look at Google Maps 3D it’s still the older view prior to the work they’ve done on the site). Whereas if it was exactly on the Georgia Ave and Crew corner, then that is where Turner Field/Georgia State Stadium currently sits.

JackCoursey on December 6, 2022 at 9:40 am

The Empire was located at 42 Georgia Avenue, SW

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