Name That Place

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

THE LYRIC THEATRE The people of Stuart turned out in droves when the Lyric Theatre opened its doors as a silent movie house in March 1926. It was built by “Judge” John C. Hancock whose optimism for the future of Stuart resulted in a theatre larger than the population warranted. At a cost of $100,000, the Lyric was considered one of the most modern buildings of its day. “Talkies” came to the Lyric in 1930 making it even more up-to-date. Although the Hancock family lost ownership during the Depression, the building continued to operate as a movie theatre until other theatres were built in Stuart. In 1978, a non-denominational church purchased the building and held services there until 1988. After the church vacated the building, the threat of demolition loomed over the Lyric. Fortunately, the historic significance of the building was recognized by a grassroots group of citizens who wanted to help revitalize downtown Stuart. In 1988, the “Friends of the Lyric” purchased the building for $300,000. Over the years, the Lyric has been restored, expanded, and continues to be updated. Just like the days of old, the Lyric serves as a gathering place for people of all ages who adore this grand old theatre.

The Lyric Theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Community support is necessary for the Lyric Theatre to continue being the heart of Stuart’s vibrant downtown. On October 8th, the Lyric will open its doors for a Stuart Heritage Museum sponsored lecture entitled, “Stuart on the St. Lucie-100 Years” given by local historian Sandra Thurlow. The presentation, part of Historic Preservation Month, will take place at 7 pm at 59 SW Flagler Avenue in downtown Stuart. 
As part of Martin County’s Historic Preservation Month, we are asking readers to name the place in this historic photograph and then go to to see the answer in current photographs. Look for more historic photograph clues and answers throughout October.

Here’s your clue: Built larger than the population warranted in the 1920s, this grande building was vital to the revitalization of downtown Stuart in the 1980s.

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