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Louisburg residents hope to restore a downtown movie theater

An updated picture of the former Louisburg Theater.
Brian Miller
An updated picture of the former Louisburg Theater. A group that wants to preserve it has the attention of Franklin County officials.

Records are incomplete, but the Louisburg Theater has been a part of the town's downtown area since at least the 1930s.

The neighborhood theater was shut down in 2009 due to leaks damaging the structure. Although the seats are removed, there’s still a stage with footlights.

Now, there’s a growing movement to preserve it.

“If you look at the outpouring that we've had on Facebook, tremendous memories that people have posted and everything that's been commented [on], it's quite positive,” said Brian Miller, the administrator of a Facebook Group called "Save the Louisburg Theater."

"We'd love to see this thing reopen," Miller added. "It's a part of the soul of that town.”

The Facebook group has over 400 members.

Franklin County officials purchased the former theater last year. A spokesperson with Franklin County says a structural analysis will determine the next steps for the building.

“As a citizen, I believe the viewpoint of quite a few of our citizens in Louisburg and in Franklin County," Miller said. "We would just love to see this theater, this historic building, rescued and preserved for future generations."

Independent movie theaters are a staple of sort in North Carolina. According to a map created by Art House Convergence, North Carolina has 11 movie theaters that identify as art houses. That’s the most in any state that is south of Ohio and east of the Mississippi River.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.
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