749 Broad St, Augusta, GA, US
Bio: The Wells, Augusta's Theatre Beautiful was built for the presenting of vaudeville and photoplays to the community by Mr. Jake Wells. The Theatre opened on Monday, February 18, 1918. A reporter for The Augusta Chronicle attended the opening and reported in the paper the following day: "Presenting B. F. Keith's Supreme Vaudeville Co. Formally of The Grand Opera House, another Jake Wells operated venue." It was very successful first week. Below are price listings for opening night. Prices for Opening Night, Feb. 18, 1918 Matinee: $0.10 and $0.20 Evening: $0.15 Orchestra $0.35 Balcony: First Section: $.35, Remainder: $0.25, Gallery (Colors Section) $0.15 Celebrity at the Theatre Although it is a certainty that a large number of celebrities of the day must have graced the stage of the theatre only a few are documented in the Imperial Theatre's archives. Among the earliest recorded appearances was the visit of Charlie Chaplin, who appeared at the theatre on April 18, 1918 selling Liberty war bonds. The Wells Becomes The Imperial On Sunday, October 6, 1918, over 3,000 cases of Spanish Flu were reported. With the death of 52 servicemen from a local military camp, the city announced the closure of all public venues, including the theatre. The quarantine began October 7, and during this time Jake Wells encountered great financial difficulties. He sold The Wells to Lynch Enterprises. On November 27, 1918, shortly after the sell, the quarantine is lifted. Two weeks later the theatre opened under the name of Jake Wells with The B. F. Keith Supreme Vaudeville Co. After the acquisition of several other local theatres by Lynch Enterprises, The Wells Theatre's was changed to The Imperial Theatre. Throughout the early 1900's the theatre continued to provide the city of Augusta and the surrounding area with great entertainment. Included in this bill of fare was Leo Carrillo who later became the Cisco Kid's partner, Poncho; and the famous ballet dancer Anna Povlova. It is in the Broad Street Historical District and is listed on the National Register as important to the character of the entire district. The Imperial Today Today we are seeing a resurgence, particularly in the older establishments of the city of Augusta, to rediscover not only their organization's history, but also the old buildings in the downtown area in which these organizations call home. The Imperial is no different, and with this in mind we would like to consider this part of the page an ongoing project. Please come back to learn more about Augusta's only remaining historical theatre.