To promote and foster drama, live theater, and the performing arts in and around Bartow County by presenting programs of integrity and professional quality, while affording any willing individual the opportunity to participate in such programs.
A History of the Pumphouse Players
In April 1975, Don and Ollene Kordecki, Mimi Collins, and Roger Hilton were discussing the lack of an organized theater group in Cartersville, Georgia. After an evening spent discussing various names for the new group, a decision was made on The Pumphouse Players. The first show produced was Mary, Mary, a comedy. For three nights in July the store-front offices of the former First National Bank loan office on Main Street were converted into a make-shift theater with chairs and a platform borrowed from the civic center and the Episcopal church. The play was brought back as a dinner theater event at the Ramada Inn Restaurant in September and October of that year.
Over the next two years The Pumphouse Players performed at several venues in the area, including the American Legion, Elk’s Club, and a park recreation hall. Beginning in September 1977 with Arsenic and Old Lace the PHP found a home at the Grand theatre in Cartersville, where they remained until the early 1990s. In 1991 and 1992 the theatre group relocated to a facility Under The Bridge, just down from the Grand. The PHP moved to the historic Legion theatre started in 1993 with One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. For over 20 years and into the foreseeable future this is our home and we have made it our own.
Since 1975, The Pumphouse Players has produced nearly 200 plays and has involved hundreds of people in all aspects of theater. We have maintained the historic aspects of the Legion while making it into one of the best and longest-running theaters in northwest Georgia.
A History of the Legion Theatre (provided by the Bartow History Museum, Cartersville, Georgia.)
The Legion Theatre opened in August 1940, with Mr. A.L. Cowart serving as manager. The 550 seat theatre, including over 200 in the balcony, featured modern equipment and facilities, with RCA picture projection and sound equipment. Admission prices ranged from 10 to 20 cents.
The facade was white, trimmed in a rich reddish brown, and adorned by a colorful metal marquee. The name, illuminated in neon lighting, was on a two-sided column to the left of the facade’s center. A large box office was constructed to be open on two sides. The first two movies shown were *It’s A Date*, starring Deanna Durbin, and the classic *Wuthering Heights*, which won an Academy Award for its star, Laurence Olivier.
Less than two years after opening, a fire, on February 12, 1942, gutted the building but left the walls standing. Reconstruction began immediately, and the theatre reopned a few months later. The Legion continued operation as a movie house until around 1952.
The building then housed a furniture store from the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, and other businesses after that. It underwent major renovations in 1992, bringing it back to its original appearance. Further renovations occurred in 2004 with upgrades to the seating, carpets, lobby, and restrooms.
In 1993, the theatre became the home of The Pumphouse Players, a live theatre group formed in 1975. Today, the PHP continue to entertain audiences with a number of performances throughout the year.