The Pulaski Dalton Theater that was my subject last week continued operating and showing second-class movies, and presenting live stage shows on into the theater. After closing its doors, the theater stood silent for several years. A group was formed in the town of Pulaski with the idea of possibly re-modeling it, and this group went so far as to have a study made to learn if it was feasible to bring it up to date.
In this study, architects and engineers made glowing reports on how stable the structure was, and all of the good things about it, giving the committee a great feeling about the entire plan.
He entire Dalton Building, including the several business fronts along Washington Avenue was purchased by several Pulaski County investors, who rented out the usable space to small business operators, mostly on the first floor, and to renters in the second and third floors.
The building was not in very good repair, and the owners probably found it to be not very profitable, so for the most part, it sat vacant.
The glowing reports of the architectural study were put away somewhere, and in a little while the committee that had had such interest in making something of the building sort of forgot about it, and went on about their daily routines. Like many such projects, the idea was put on the back burner, so to speak
The Dalton continued to present stage shows featuring members of the Grand Ole Opry, but they were few and far between. All of the planning and dreaming of the friends and lovers of the Dalton were cast aside, while fate made the decision.
Fate made a decision. In the quiet of a late Pulaski night, the base of the beloved old building began to crumble, and in a matter of seconds, the theater came crashing to the ground. The architects and engineers had been proven wrong about the strength of the building. What had been a complete structure the day before was now a pile of rubble.
The cause of the old building’s demise can only be guessed. Some said it was the fact that the north building wall was built on the top of the Peak Creek wall.
Some blamed it on natural deterioration. Still others jokingly stated that it was weak from all of those cowboys racing their horses across the screen. My guess is that the Peak Creek wall settled a bit, causing the building wall to go down with it
Whatever the cause, Pulaski lost a good friend when the Dalton Theater went out of business, and when another part of our heritage fell to the ground
Several mementos of the Dalton Building remain, but their condition is questionable after the train station fire
Lloyd Mathews is a retired land surveyor and a historian who lives in Pulaski.