Varsity Theatre chosen as historic nominee

Varsity Theatre chosen as historic nominee
A historic piece of property on Oxford Street in downtown Martin has been chosen as a finalist for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Varsity Theatre, located at 104 Oxford St. was built in 1949. At its opening, the two-story theater could seat 1,000 people.
The historic location was chosen as an eligible candidate for the National Register of Historic Places because of its local significant example of Art Moderne – Art Deco commercial architecture.
The theater operated continually from 1949 until 1977 under the ownership of Ruffin Amusement Company. It was sold by that company on March 15, 1977 to Jaxson Drive In Theatre, Inc. and closed due to the owner’s illness in 1987.
The Varsity reopened in June 1992, but closed again July 31, 1992.
The Daystar Ministries purchased the building in 1996. In 2004, the church moved to the former Martin Middle School location leaving the historic theater vacant once again.
On Oct. 21, 2004 Brian Wray Smith and his wife bought the building and brought it back to life as a physical therapy clinic and fitness center.
The facelift of the exterior and interior of the building allowed the historic charm to remain and for that, it has earned a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
The State Review Board will meet on Wednesday, May 26, to examine Tennessee’s proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
The meeting will be held at the Woman’s Club of Nashville, located at 3206 Hillsboro Pike.  It will begin at 10 a.m.  
The Board will vote on nine nominations, which includes Martin’s Varsity Theatre, from across the state. Nominations that meet the criteria will be sent for final approval to the National Register of Historic Places in the U. S. Department of the Interior.
The remaining nominations are:
• Carroll County:  Long Rock Methodist Episcopal Church, South 
• Davidson County:  Woman’s Club of Nashville 
• Gibson County:  Bonds House 
• Hamilton County:  First Congregational Church 
• Hamilton County:  Ridgedale Methodist Episcopal Church 
• Smith County:  Beasley Mounds 
• Sullivan County:  Fairmont Historic District 
• Washington County:  Memorial Stadium 
The State Review Board is composed of 13 people with backgrounds in American history, architecture, archaeology or related fields. 
It also includes members representing the public.  The National Register program was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
The public is invited to attend the meeting.  For additional information, contact Claudette Stager at (615) 532-1550, extension 105, or at Claudette.Stager@tn.gov.
WCP 5.20.10

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