121 S. Florida Avenue,
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Polk Theatre - Lakeland (Official)
Architects: James E. Casale
Built in 1927 to the plans of architect James E. Casale, the Polk Theatre has a mezzanine, a high balcony, a permanent backdrop of a "Venetian piazza," an orchestral pit, high twinkling stars, a cloud-covered ceiling, and an exquisite terrazzo floor. The air-conditioning system (the first in the county in the 1920’s) was a pump that used artesian well water to chill the building.
The Polk Theatre opened on December 22, 1928 with Pauline Frederick in “On Trial”. By 1941 it was operated by Paramount Pictures Inc. through their subsidiary E.J. Sparks. From November/December 1978 in was operated by Plitt Theatres. They closed it as a movie theatre on September 23, 1984 with Jim Henson’s “The Muppets Take Manhattan”. On October 15, 1984 it reopened as a performing arts venue.
Today, the 1,400-seat theatre is used for live performances as well as movies.
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