The Elk's / Si-Non / Lido Theatre
The Elks Theatre was the first "picture show" in Demopolis. It opened
October 1, 1915 in the building at the corner of Washington and
Strawberry Street. The theatre had a large front palladium window.
Braswell Theatre partners Harry Simon and Tom Nonnenmacher acquired the
Elks and gave it a new name, the Si-Non, for a February 1, 1916 opening.
The predecessor, Cheshire-Webb Building burned on 1912. It contained
Robertson Bank on the first floor, law and insurance offices on the
second floor and a dance hall on the third floor. The Elk's was originally
a silent movie theatre and had personal appearances by celebrities until
1929 when it began a regular schedule of talkies. It contained a balcony
with fifty seats. The first floor had a center row of ten seats and five
seats on either side.
The first movie presented was “The Perils of Pauline”. Many theatrical
productions were staged here. In the late 1910’s Erich Weiss, escaped
artist, performed here. In later years, Harry Houdini performed escape
tricks and hypnotism. The famous boxer, Jack Dempsey, also appeared here.
After a management change in January, 1931, the Si-Non operated as
the Lido Theatre for its final four years. On September 14, 1935, the
Marengo Theatre at the intersection of Washington and Cedar celebrated
its grand opening as the city's exclusive showplace for movies. A capacity
crowd enjoyed the picture Two for Tonight, but a phone call from Hollywood
Jean Harlow to Mayor N. C. Floyd proved to be the evening's highlight.
Originally operated by an Atlanta company, the Marengo was
subsequently purchased in 1940 by Henry W. Webb, its first local owner.
Before World War II, the building was a hay and feed store. It has
housed the A&P Grocery, three restaurants, West Alabama Butane & Fred’s
In June of 1990 restoration began. A large palladium window and
latticework on the second floor were discovered and restored. The
exterior walls are 27 inches thick and the ceilings of the first floor
are 15-˝ feet high.
The Elk's Theater
|The Elk's / Si-Non / Lido when the A&P was there|