Temple Theatre
Meridian, Mississippi

2320 8th Street
1,633 seats
Opened: May 21, 1928
Architect: Emile Weil

 


 

 
Postcard view of Hamasa Temple, ca. 1923
1923: The Hamasa Shrine Temple building, at this point mostly a shell.
Postcard view of Hamasa Temple, 1928.  'We Americans' is on the Saenger marquee.
1928: Saenger has completed the auditorium & rest of the interior, & the theatre is advertised as "Saenger's Temple Theatre".
Postcard view of Temple Theatre, ca. 1937 - 'Live, Love & Learn' is on the Temple marquee
1937: The "Saenger" marquee has been replaced with a marquee announcing it theatre as the "Temple".
 

 

The Hamasa Shrine of Meridian, MS, contracted with the Saenger organization for a new auditorium to be designed, built, & operated by Saenger in their building, with ownership remaining with the Hamasa Shrine (an arrangement similar to the one made later with Fox for the Atlanta Fox Theatre).

Emile Weil's design includes a ballroom for Shrine functions. The theatre's decoration is a byzantine swirl of plaster fountains, a large plaster chandelier, bright colors, & lush drapes.

The Temple Theatre has remained in the posession of the Hamasa Shrine, & has remained also in continuous use. It's very original: the method of the Shrine in matters of repair & restoration has been conservative & not revisionist. Stepping into the theatre is much like stepping in back in time to 1928.

With a notable exception: the lobby's terrazzo floor, inlaid with small brass stars, swastikas, & crescents, was edited during World War II. The swastikas (simply design elements when the theatre was constructed in 1927) were removed.

 

 

 



 

Open console at a meeting of the GCTOS at the Temple Theatre.
Dolton McAlpin plays the Temple's Robert Morton Theatre organ.

Click here to listen to the organ!

   

 

 

In 2009, the Temple Theatre building was sold by the Hamasa Shrine to businessman Roger Smith, who continues to operate the theatre as a performing arts & movie venue.

 

 

 


Other information:

  Temple Theater -- Meridian, Mississippi, official website  
  Temple Theater, information & a romp on the Robert Morton theatre organ, from the Magnolia chapter of the ATOS  

 

 

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Next: the Strand Theatre in Tupelo, Mississippi

 

 

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