Historic Martin building is etched into national historic register list
Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 2:20 pm
The process to have the Varsity Theater, now home of The Sideline, was an extensive 23-page package which included the building’s history, design and current uses. That process began in January and as of this week, the historic property on Oxford Street will leave a legacy on the national historic registry.
The Art Moderne Varsity Theater was among eight historic sites in the state chosen to the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation.
According to the nomination package presented to the Tennessee Historical Commission for acceptance into the national register, the preservation still in place by the current owners of the building, Brian Smith and his wife Candra mimics the interior features of the theatre’s original construction. The Art Moderne Varsity Theater, was designed by the architectural firm of Speight and Hibbs of Clarksville. It was completed and opened to the public in 1949. The rectangular-shaped theater measures 140 by 55 feet and at its opening could seat approximately 1,000 people. The building has remained a landmark in the Martin community throughout its existence.
The Varsity Theatre has served as the home of Daystar Church in 1996. After the church moved out of the building, the Smiths purchased the historic site and renovated the interior into a physical therapy clinic and fitness center.
With the Smiths’ conversion came a face-lift, but the couple managed to keep the integrity of the historic building in place.
The exterior brick, upper blue field and the name Varsity remain as a reminder of entertainment life in downtown Martin.