Rosewood Theatre

1905 S. Lauderdale Street,
Memphis, TN 38106

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Additional Info

Architects: W.C. Lester

Functions: Church

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Rosewood Theatre

The Rosewood Theatre was located on the corner of S. Lauderdale Street and Rosewood Avenue. It was built as part of a development on both sides of S. Lauderdale Street by Ben Bass. It was opened on September 4, 1950. It was a neon encased Art Moderne style gem that illuminated the night sky with a burst of colours. Unfortunately this was not enough to sustain a steady flow of patrons and the theatre shuttered in 1962. It had a more lengthy career as Bennett’s Club Rosewood with regular live entertainment. It has seen its times as a church as well. Sometimes confused with the Rosemary Theatre, they were entirely different buildings with entirely different histories.

Contributed by Jack Coursey, Vincent Astor

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

BarryFord on January 25, 2006 at 11:36 am

As kids, the Rosewood was a fantastic concert venue after it closed as a movie theater. In the same building was a barber shop. The Rosewood Barbershop of course, and that’s where most of the neighborhood kids got their haircuts. Although the barbershop AT the Rosewood theater closed THAT location, it is still known as the Rosewood Barbershop at their new location in the Whitehaven neighborhood.

The theater itself is now occupied by a Church…Rosewood Church.

JackCoursey on November 22, 2006 at 2:50 pm

Here is an archive photo of the theatre.

gspragin on July 4, 2007 at 11:01 pm

Nice story about the barbershop! I visited on 7/4/2007 and took a few photos:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 9, 2009 at 12:05 am

The Rosewood Theatre was pictured in the July 22, 1950, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The house, then under construction, was expected to open on October 15, but was ahead of schedule. Boxoffice announced in its issue of September 16, 1950, that the Rosewood had opened. The architect was W.C. Lester.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 6, 2009 at 12:15 am

The Rosewood was one of the theaters operated by Augustine Cianciolo, as mentioned in many issue of Boxoffice Magazine during the early 1950s.

The December 29, 1956, issue of Boxoffice said that Nathan Reiss had bought the Rosewood Theatre from its owner, Ben Bass, and would take over operation of the house from lessee Augustine Cianciolo on January 1, 1957.

The January 11, 1960, issue of Boxoffice reported that William Shapiro had taken over operation of the Rosewood on a lease from owner Nathan Reiss. After that the Rosewood is only mentioned retrospectively in one 1963 item, so it must have closed by then.

LeonNorman on February 4, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Was this a predominantly African American Movie House? I know it later became Club Rosewood which I believe was a black club…ANY INFO?

Shorttoes on September 30, 2015 at 6:51 pm

No, it was not predominantly African American. I grew up going to Rosewood. Trent Wood and Tiny the clown were there one Saturday and drew my name from the tickets and I won a pass to the theater for a year !!!
I remember the barber shop and they had a bar at the end of the building. I have a lot of fun memories at the Rosewood.

Cliftram on April 28, 2016 at 12:13 pm

My family lived on Lauderdale after WW2 and my sister and I joined the neighborhood kids every Saturday at the Rosewood. It was Saturday paradise with cartoons, adventure serials and western movies. Big part of my childhood. Missed it tons when we moved away.

rivest266 on August 12, 2021 at 2:43 pm

This opened on September 4th, 1950. Grand opening ad posted.

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