Bonita Theater

W. 12th Street,
Columbus, GA 31901

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R.E. Martin was born on a farm near Columbus in 1885. He had but little education, his formal schooling not extending beyond fractions. Circumstances made it necessary for him to begin work at an early age to help support his family. For a while he sold commercial insurance at Montgomery, Alabama, and later conducted a furniture business at Chattanooga, Tennessee.

In 1912 he returned to Columbus and on February 18, 1913 he purchased a nickel moving picture theatre, known as the Bonita Theatre, located in that city, which had opened October 29, 1910. In 1914 he built another motion picture theatre, the Grand Theatre, in Columbus which he sold in 1917. In the meantime he had sold the Bonita Theatre and had repurchased it in 1915, only to close it in 1916.

In 1920 Martin built the Pastime Theatre in North Highlands, a suburb of Columbus, at a cost of between $10,000 and $11,000. It was put into operation in the fall of 1921. In 1927, he built the Royal Theater, later known as the Three Arts.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 16, 2014 at 11:34 am

According to an item in the September 4, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World, the Bonita Theatre moved into its 12th Street location that year:

“The Bonita theater, Columbus, Ga., closed this week on account of moving into its new home on Twelfth street. W. H. Tolbert, manager, states that the moving- is due to the fact that there are too many theaters in their present location. The new location is a splendid one, and the Bonita will be the only one on Twelfth street.”
The Bonita Theatre had been in operation by March, 1911, when it was mentioned in that month’s issue of The Typographical Journal.

rivest266 on July 3, 2018 at 11:36 am

This opened on October 29th, 1910. a newspaper article in the photo section. Newspaper listings stopped for this theatre in 1916.

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