Jacksonville Film History Tour

Before there was a Hollywood, there was a Jacksonville! "The World’s Winter Film Capital".

In the early 1900s, Jacksonville became known as “the World’s Winter Film Capital”. The city's moderate climate and diverse scenery made it a gem for filming with more than 30 film companies calling Jacksonville home. Studios and film manufacturing companies were built in Springfield, Riverside, Arlington and along the Downtown Southbank.

In 1908, Kalem Studio out of New York City was the first to set up shop in the Tallyrand area. Shortly after, MGM Studios opened a subsidiary called Metro Studio. Before long there was an influx of film production companies. Eagle Film Studios built in 1916 and later became Norman Studios, a historical redevelopment staple in the Arlington community making African-American movies Jacksonville, the first of its kind.

Follow the map tour for descriptions of each movie house & theatre.

Movie Houses & Theatres

  1. Beaver Theatre, 2950 Beaver St. W
  2. The Fairfax, 3242 Dignan St
  3. Griffith Theatre, 2412 W. Beaver St.
  4. Sun-Ray Cinema, 1028 Park St., 1927
  5. San Marco Theatre, 1996 San Marco Blvd, 1938
  6. Little Theatre, 2032 San Marco Blvd, 1920
  7. The Dixie Theatre, Dixieland Park – Southbank, 1909
  8. Florida Theatre, 128 E. Forsyth St, 1927
  9. The Palace Theatre, 32 E. Forsyth St. 1919
  10. Imperial Theatre, 26 E. Forsyth St., 1920s
  11. Empress Theatre, 18 E. Forsyth St., 1921 (Vaudeville & picture house for AA audiences)
  12. Roxy Theatre, 38 W. Forsyth St.
  13. Saint Johns Theatre, 109 W. Forsyth St.
  14. Arcade Theatre – Center Theatre, 32 W. Adams, 1915
  15. Temple Theatre, 221 N Main St.
  16. Savoy Theatre, 11 E Forsyth St.
  17. Casino Theatre, 212 W. Bay St, 1918
  18. Little Savoy Theatre, 610 W Forsyth St, 1904 (for colored performers)
  19. Excelsior Hall, Bridge St in Lavilla, 1898 (black-owned theatrical venue) (Patrick Chappelle, vaudeville performer)
  20. Colored Airdome Theater, 600 W. Ashley St., 1909
  21. Bijou Theatre, 601 W. Ashley St, 1908…Globe Theatre 1910
  22. Roosevelt Theatre, 818 W. Ashley St, 1949
  23. Strand Theatre, 701 W. Ashley St, 1915
  24. Frolic Theatre, 741 W. Ashley St., 1925 (AA theatre-currently Lavilla School for the Arts), 1925
  25. Ritz Theatre, 829 N. Davis St., 1929 (AA movie house), 1929
  26. Brentwood Theatre, 3725 N Pearl St.
  27. Capitol Theatre, 1741 N. Main St., 1927
  28. Atlantic Drive-In Theatre, 5854 Atlantic Boulevard, 1939
  29. Old Arlington Theatre, 1409 University Blvd N, aka Capri; Renaissance
  30. Arlington Theater, 1127 N. Arlington Rd – SciFI and Horror, 1950
  31. Royal Palm Theatre, 751 Atlantic Blvd, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233