Jesse Booth, Visionary, Entrepreneur, Businessman. In the 1930’s Mr. Booth opened the first Movie Theater in Walnut Cove. Located at the intersection of 3nd and Main St., the building, formally a garage served as the theater until 1949. W.D. Sands remembers traveling to Palmetto FL. With his dad to buy Produce to sell in the Walnut Cove and Danbury areas. The Name of the theatre was brought back to Walnut Cove. The PALMETTO. Mr. Sands remembers watching the movie “outlaw” in the old garage which had a sellout audience to see Jane Russell in her lowcut blouse. Many others remember Hopalong Cassidy shooting the Six Shooter from the hand of a bad guy from a quarter of a mile away. Stokes County folks watched their first Movie here. Gone with the Wind, WWII News Briefs, Tom and Jerry.
In 1938 Mr. Booth opened a second Theater in King. Which he later sold.
In 1949 he opened the Palmetto on Main St. In Walnut Cove. Movies, Live Music, Wrestling, Burlesque, Western movie stars came to the Palmetto. Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Ernest Tubb and his Troubadour’s, Red Sovine, Western stars Lash LaRue and Fuzzy Jones and many, many, others performed here. Young folks met their future Husbands and Wife’s here, family’s enjoyed time together here.
In the late 50’s and early 60’s Television took its toll on movie theaters and in 1966 the Palmetto closed its doors and was sold. It would become old and dilapidated during the next 50 years without the purpose for which it was created. It became an Automobile Dealership, A carpet store, an auto repair shop, A License Plate Agency, and storage facility, and finally, through the broken windows, missing doors and caved roof became a habitat for Rats, Bats, Ravens, Pidgeon’s and other creatures looking for shelter.
It seemed as if few people had the desire to preserve the old landmark buildings, like the Dodson Hotel and Mercantile building. The Palmetto was all but one inspection away from condemnation when six citizens purchased it in an attempt to save it from destruction.
Thanks to Kim, Don, Connie, Hunter, Durwood D. and Durward B. and the many contributors and volunteers for making the old Palmetto shine again. And how she does shine.
Special thanks to NC Rep. Kyle Hall.
HOW WE STARTED
HOW WE GOT HERE
WHERE WE ARE NOW