Someone Save Pahokee’s Old Prince Theater! Former Mayor was too busy obsessing.
When I lived in Palm Beach County Pahokee was that place way out there. I don’t even think when I worked in home health from Boca I ever went out there. It’s pretty torn up. Yet the people that live there are so nice. Real people. I’d rather spend a day in Pahokee than a day in Palm Beach. Truly.
I feel like the whole area are the forgotten people but whats so funny is they haven’t forgotten themselves. They just go on with their day. This is their life.
So if you go to downtown Pahokee you see this: An old movie theater and the base is made from coral.
Here is some info about the “Prince Theater.”
“A fight is brewing over the crumbling, pink Prince Theater on Main Street, where country music singer Mel Tillis got his start and Glades children spent countless Saturday afternoons.
But city leaders aren’t fighting to restore the 70-year-old landmark. They want to force its new owner to tear it down.
The city sold the theater to businessman Emilio Perez for $8,500 on March 1, with the understanding he would demolish the building and use the site to expand a gas station for economic development. Now the city is suing Perez for breach of contract after he started to repair the building instead.
“The bottom line is: ‘Just do what you said you would do,'” Mayor J.P Sasser said. “All we want him to do is honor his original agreement.”
In a June 29 letter to the city, Perez said he had a change of heart about demolishing the theater after residents asked him to fix and re-open it.
The 500-seat theater was built in 1940 and showed first-run movies and live performances for about 25 years until it closed in the mid-1960s. Tillis, who grew up in Pahokee, said he got his start singing at talent shows at the Prince Theater in the late 1940s
The theater sat dormant for more than a decade, and its owners donated it to the city in 1976. After residents led by Harriet Seldes raised more than $100,000 to renovate the building, it reopened in 1980 for community events and later for movies.
“We were doing this not only for the adults in the community but also the children,” said Seldes, who now lives in Port St. Lucie. “There was no other theater, nothing else for children to do but football.”
The theater closed again after a few years. Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 damaged the roof so badly that city officials decided it was beyond hope of repair, Sasser said.
Pahokee resident Larry Wright said the Prince should not be torn down. He suggested that a nonprofit theater group could be organized to put on plays there using local children.
Sasser said that before being elected this year he had worked with a group that tried to find money to save the Prince, but it was a lost cause because of the extent of roof damage and other needed repairs.”
Seriously JP you spend too much time obsessing about the septic tanks in Martin County to pay attention to your own town the wonderful place it could be. You could find a roof company and try to raise the money to fix this. You want it replaced with a Gas station?
You could fix this place out. Have a children’s theater. Show some good movies. Have some concerts. Who would want to demolish such a gem. You could have brought people to pahokee!
We need to help Pahokee!
Maybe someone from the Island of Palm Beach could invest in this. It would be awesome. We need to invest in the children of Pahokee.
Hopefully the new mayor will fix this place up!
“Sasser has been one of the most visible representatives of the Pahokee area on the state and federal level, taking trips to Tallahassee and Washington D.C. to argue his case for his hometown and for the Glades area. Along those same lines, it was his sharp tongue and his haranguing of other elected officials that landed him in the headlines. Sasser defended the area in a distinct way, and a harsh scolding of the county or state was one of the many cards Sasser played to get his message across.
With a convincing loss to a political newcomer, Sasser said his political career in Pahokee in over.”
Oh Goody! The water issue has got to be fixed! But looking at the old Prince theater which is a jewel that you want to tear down instead of putting effort into having something for the children of your town is beyond me. Good for the guy who bought it and changed his mind.
JP Sasser’s belief that we want to flood out Pahokee.
Joe Vogel on April 4, 2015 at 4:40 amThe original Prince Theatre was replaced in 1940. The April 5, 1940, issue of The Film Daily had this item:
This follow-up item is from the January 3, 1941, issue of The Film Daily:
Listings of the Prince Theatre in FDY’s from the 1930s consistently give it a capacity of 250, so it was less than half the size of the new house. It seems unlikely that the original Prince Theatre would have been demolished in 1940 if its building was only nine years old, so it’s likely that it was either an older theater that had operated under a different name earlier in its history, or it was in an older commercial building that had been converted into a theater in 1931.Architect Chester A. Cone was still in practice at least as late as 1985, so it seems likely that it was the 1940 rebuilding of the Prince Theatre that he designed, rather than the original house.
In 1966, the Gold-Dobrow chain leased three of their five theaters, including the Prince, to a Miami-based chain. An article about the transfer in the December 21 issue of The Palm Beach Post said that the Gold-Dobrow chain had been “…organized about 35 years ago….” That would be consistent with the 1931 opening of the original Prince Theatre, whether it was a new operation or an old house renamed by the new owners.