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Pic Theatre - Pickens, SC

Photograph courtesy Mr. Wilton Porter, Pickens, SC

Pic Theater (Formerly the Jefferson Theater) - Gone

Thanks to Mr. Robert D. McJunkin, the grandson of the woman who built the movie theater in Pickens, we now know more of its history. We also know that the Jefferson and Pic were the same theater and that the first theater, a wooden sturcture, was replaced by a more substantial stone structure. Below is the email from him.

I have just seen your web site and wanted to share some history with you. The Pic Theatre in Pickens was built by my grandmother, Myrtie H. Stevenson. I don't know the exact date, but it would have been in the 1930s because my mother used to sell tickets there and my father would come to the window to court her while she was on duty. They were married in 1938.

My grandmother named it the Jefferson Theatre in honor of her father, Jefferson Davis Holder. She hired someone to manage it for her. Originally it was built of wood. It was very controversial in that a fundamentalist minister constantly ranted and raved about how evil it was to have a liquor store on one end of Main Street and a movie theatre on the other. The church prayed for it to burn down, and it did. That is why my family became Presbyterians.

My grandmother was not easily deterred, so she rebuilt the theatre out of stone, where it stood (I like to think, proudly, as a monument against narrow-mindedness) for many years at the end of Main Street, even after it was closed. I note the picture on your site, which shows that the years of being empty were not kind to it. The door on the right next to the ticket window was the entrance for whites, and the door on the left was the exit for whites. The door on the far right was the colored entrance and provided access to the balcony. I remember that when I was about six years old, my grandmother wanted me to see a certain picture and wanted my nanny to take me. She called the manager, who said that my nanny was not permitted to sit downstairs with the white people, but I could sit with her in the balcony. My grandmother sold it shortly before she died in 1948, and the new owners changed the name to Pic.

I enjoyed going to the movies with my friends. If you were under 12 years of age, the ticket was 9 cents. Popcorn was 10 cents. We would get a dime from our parents and pool the change to buy a box of popcorn that we would share.

Robert D. McJunkin
July 30, 2010

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