Did you know?
The Rylander theatre in Americus Georgia was once known as “The finest playhouse south of Atlanta“. Located a short distance from the beautiful Windor Hotel, it still runs plays and theatrics today. While this historic building is significant, some say it contains a worker that never left, and maybe never will. Before we get to that, we must explore the History.
Starting as a dream of Walter Rylander a few years before, the Rylander Theatre was opened in 1921. C.K. Howell, a designer from New York, helped bring its original construction to existence. (If you haven’t noticed by now, there are a ton of historic buildings in Middle Georgia built or designed by New Yorkers.) This beautiful structure was, at the time, a first class theatre. It was certainly the first of it’s kind in Sumter County and was meant to hold over 600 seats.
It was used for motion pictures as well as live performances. In fact, According to Jim Miles in “Haunted South Georgia“, it’s first performance was just three weeks after it’s opening and was a double feature. The first films were “The Love Light” and “Get Out and Get Under” premiering in the roaring twenties. The theatre would close in 1951. During its first thirty years, it would screen many films and plays as well as survive depression and host guest through World War 2.
Luckily for us, it received a 5 million dollar renovation and it’s auditorium was renamed the “Jimmy Carter Auditorium” for the former president’s birthday in 1999. That’s a really long time to sit unused. It’s a fun fact to note that Carter was not the only United States president who was familiar with Americus. Check out our story on the Windsor to learn more. Indeed, Americus itself, just like all other towns and cities, hold significance in Georgia. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with your history!
According to the book mentioned above, ongoing with other people we have spoke to, there are rumors of a “ghost” being here. This “spirit” has been described as harmless, yet mischievous. It enjoyed locking doors and playing with lights, so the legend says. Some former and even current employees agree that there’s something lurking around, but they dont feel threatened. The main speculation is that it’s actually a former manager who loved his job so much, he never wanted to leave. We have doing research to see if we can find out whom it could possibly be. We will do a follow-up with this story when we do.
Although we’ll never know what’s going on inside of this wonderfully preserved theatre, we can all take the time to appreciate it’s history and what it’s done for the city of Americus throughout its tenure.
Hey! I hope you enjoyed exploring the history of The Rylander. Go check this place out on its website at https://www.rylander.org/ to find out how you can visit or give back!
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