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Anderson Theatre - Mullins, SC

Anderson Theatre
Mullins, SC - September 21, 2004

It was a short drive from Hemmingway to Mullins. We parked on Main Street directly across from the old Anderson Theater. The marquee is still there. We were taking a photograph when a jeep pulled up beside us. The license plate read, “County Coroner.” The man who got out of the jeep introduced himself as Jerry. He smiled and greeted us warmly. We explained our interest in the old Anderson Theater and he told us about the recent developement of the building into apartments. He asked if we planned on having lunch in Mullins. When we said we were, he suggested O’Hara’s which was just around the corner. We thanked him and crossed the street to inspect the Anderson Theater building.

The Anderson Center Apartments at 143 North Main Street is a great example of adaptive reuse of a historic structure. The marquee has been retained. When we entered the building, we passed beneath part of the original balcony into an atrium that occupies the area that was once the auditorium. Sky lights provide illumination for this beautiful common area. Entrance to the several apartments is made from this atrium. We were told that Reggie McDaniel at the Tobacco Museum may have tickets and other items from the Anderson Theater in Mullins.

We were getting hungry so we drove around the corner to O’Hara’s Restaurant. It is in a building that was the Vaughn Hotel built around 1900. Mrs. Leila Anderson owned it and operated an antique store there for many years. In 1994, Jo Sanders bought it and opened it as a bed and breakfast and restaurant. The restaurant is in the hotel’s original dining room. The style is Victorian and the atmosphere is very friendly. The food, which is southern cuisine served at a buffet in an adjacent room, was exceptionally good. The desserts were plentiful and delicious. The service was excellent.

We had a conversation with Mrs. Sanders and discovered that her daughter, Suzanne Sanders Baker, taught ballet and had performed with the Atlanta Ballet. To our surprise, we discovered that she had taken ballet from a dear friend of our, Robert Ivey, in Charleston. We thanked Mrs. Sanders for a lovely lunch and headed north.

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