The Gem Theatre
The Gem Theatre is the only theater left from the old Towel City Theater chain. Four theaters -- the Dixie, the Gem, the Palace and the Swannee -- entertained the residents of Kannapolis, many of whom worked at Cannon Mills.
The original Gem Theatre opened on Dec. 31, 1936 and operated under the Towel City management until the building burned down in 1942.
A new moviehouse was built and opened in 1948, complete with 916 seats and a balcony. The Gem Theatre has been in operation since that time, and still seats patrons in the balcony.
The third theater in the Towel City Theatre chain -- the Swanee -- closed in 1971, leaving only the Gem in operation. The Gem changed hands over the years, with J. Carlyle Rutledge serving as president for most of its history. Rutledge, a prominent Kannapolis lawyer and philanthropist, died in 2008.
The current general manager, Steve Morris, operates The Gem Theatre seven days a week, showing first-run films at family-friendly prices.
Known for its colorful iconic neon marquee, The Gem Theatre has been, and still is, the showcase of Kannapolis.
We are proud to say The Gem Theatre is home to Modern Film Fest.