Palmetto Theater

172 E. Main St., Spartanburg, South Carolina

Lost Art Deco Movie Theater in Spartanburg, SC


Palmetto Theater, Facade

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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The Palmetto Theater, built in 1940, is significant for its technological advances and as an excellent example of the theater designs of Erle G. Stillwell (1885-1978), a Hendersonville, North Carolina, architect who specialized in movie theaters. Stillwell, one of the principals in the firm Six Associates, Inc., of Asheville, also designed ten other theaters in South Carolina in the 1930s and 1940s. The Palmetto Theater included the latest in design for its patrons, including state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment, air conditioning, and a staggered placement of seats so that no patron’s view of the screen would be blocked by the patron sitting in front of them, and hard-of-hearing-aids and other aids for the disabled. The theater is a one-story, rectangular plan brick building with a built-up roof on bow-string trusses and a stepped stucco façade. Exterior features include a large marquee, theater entrance recess and a separate shop storefront decorated in Carrera-glass panels in varying shades of blue. Interior features include double balconies, Terrazzo flooring, large Art Deco light fixtures, decorative wall painting, and an Art Deco plaster screen surround. Listed in the National Register April 12, 1996. It has since been demolished. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 12, 1996
Reference number
Architectural style
Modern Movement: Art Deco
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • October 22, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller
  • October 15, 2013: Updated by Michael Miller: Changed "Status" & added "Description"