The City of Hogansville has been under heavy debate recently about how to use the old Royal Theater building moving forward. It is currently home to Hogansville City Hall, but there has been an outcry among citizens to restore it to its intended use: a source of entertainment for the people of Hogansville. The Royal Theater building remains in good shape. The marquee is still intact, boasting “ROYAL” in the true art deco style of the late 30’s. The building was originally built by O.C. Lam in 1937, when Hogansville was a commercial hub. Main Street was flooded with shoppers, and Hogansville residents and out of town visitors alike would gather at the Royal Theater to socialize and enjoy the cinema. The 1960s and the popularity of the automobile led to a decline in Hogansville’s commercial traffic, which continued to decline into the 1980’s, forcing the Royal Theater to shut its doors for good.
The building stands as a testament to a different age for Hogansville, one of booming tourism and plenty of attractions. As Hogansville has grown over the past few years with new developments such as Station Coffeehouse and The Depot, the number of visitors has grown with it, with people travelling from all over Troup County to spend a little time in the historic town. These small attractions have led many to believe that if restored, the Royal Theater would be a big step in bringing more tourism to Hogansville. According to Gayle Devereaux, leader of the advocates for Royal Theater’s restoration, “Once renovated and operational, [The Royal] could draw a wide regional interest and audiences for a variety of programming including indie films, children’s matinees, performing arts, musical performances, recitals, and much more”.
In addition to restoring a piece of Hogansville’s history and drawing more people to the city, returning The Royal to its former glory comes with some grant incentive as well. Institutions such as the CDBG and the FOX Theater Foundation could offer support of the renovations through grant funding that the city would not receive if they choose to continue to use The Royal as Hogansville City Hall.
The City is still deliberating over what they plan to do with The Royal Theater. Troup County News will follow up on this story as it progresses.