The Meroney Theater has a special place in the hearts and history of Rowan County and its residents. The name Meroney has long been associated with entertainment in Salisbury. On November 20, 2005, the building built by Dr. Leroy Meroney and his sister Miss Lena Meroney turned 100 years old.
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History of the Meroney
Salisbury gets a local theater
Built in 1905, at the cost of $75,000, Dr. Meroney built a “house” that was supposed to seat 1000 patrons. Today we don’t see how that was possible, since the chamber seats 361 patrons. In those early days Salisbury was on the railway line that serviced communities from New York to Atlanta. Salisbury, having aspirations to be a cultural community, lured touring companies to town. They had to bring in the 1000 patrons to be able to attract the popular acts traveling the circuit through Salisbury on the railway. Some of the acts included the Sarah Bernhardt, and John Phillip Sousa.
The Meroney sold an re-named
After the Meroney family sold the theatre in 1911 to Mr. Marsh, it became known as the “Grubb Theater.” In 1915, the Beard family purchased the property at public auction and it became exclusively as movie house know as the “Strand Theater”. Local residents today may remember it as the “Center Theater,” where residents continued to attend movies until 1989, when Die Hard was the final movie shown in the theater.
Film to Theatre
The building then lay in ruin for two more years. Hurricane Hugo had destroyed the roof and cats had made the structure their sanctuary. Piedmont Players Theatre had the vision and public financial support to save the building, to return the original name of Meroney Theater, and to bring back live theatrical performances to its stage.
Piedmont Players purchased The Meroney Theater in 1992 and spent three years and $1.8 million renovating the theater to what you see today. The renovated Meroney Theater reopened to public with our performance of Jesus Christ Superstar October 19, 1995.
A Promising Future
Since the initial opening our renovations have continued. In 2002, an elevator and new façade were completed. In 2003, we expanded the shop area, enclosed the green room and added a handicap accessibility to the shop area. We appreciate the continued support of the community. And, if you see an empty seat nearby that means one of your friends or co-workers has not heard about how great our theatre is. Please help us spread the word.
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