Retired businessman buys historic Meridian theater

Published 11:27 pm Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Retired businessman Roger Smith says his lifelong interest in movie houses brought him to Meridian and into ownership of the east Mississippi city’s historic Temple Theatre.

The Hamasa Temple Shriners have sold the theater to Smith for $500,000.

Smith, formerly of Dallas, says he intends to restore the building.

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The building is listed on the National Register of Historical places. It was built by the Shriners in the mid-1920s. It is noted for its Moorish revival style architecture and design, popular among Shriners’ Temples, and its remarkable pipe organ.

It was once the only movie theater in Meridian, later being leased by the Saenger chain of theaters for 40 years. In recent years, it has been used for stage productions.