The Eatonton Downtown Development Authority (EDDA) is excited to announce its acquisition of the Historic Pex Theatre in Downtown Eatonton, Georgia. As a result of the receipt of the first ever-awarded Emergency Acquisition Grant from The Fox Theatre Institute, the EDDA acquired the historical property on Thursday, October 10, 2019.
On August 14, 1941 the Eatonton Messenger reads, “Eatonton to Have New Movie House.” The Pex Theater, the name upon opening, would prove to be the first ever air-conditioned building in Eatonton. The building was constructed of steel and brick with seats for 750. The construction would take the better part of the fall and winter of 1941 to complete. The most notable film to premier at The Pex Theater was Academy Award Winning film, The Color Purple, in 1986. The author of the book and Eatonton native, Alice Walker, attended the premiere. The property has not operated as a theatre for many years.
The intent of the EDDA is to preserve the building as a theatre, improve the exterior appearance, renovate the facility with modern comforts and cinematic technology, and operate as a single screen theatre with the ability to play movies both new and old. The EDDA has found that theaters can be lead actors in community renewal and revitalization efforts. They bring in patrons in concentrated doses and feed them out to ancillary businesses during hours that would otherwise be unproductive economically. Many communities have overlooked the importance of the local theater to downtown vitality. Considering the theater as an asset opens doors to new opportunities and new life in downtowns.