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 Department Store.
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|