Loris history will soon be on display at new downtown museum

Historic Loris movie theater to be renovated into museum

LORIS, S.C. (WMBF) - History will have a new home soon in downtown Loris.

The Loris Historical Society is renovating an old Main Street building into a museum.

The State Theater had its heyday back when a movie ticket cost about 50 cents.

Although its original purpose was to show off the latest film, the new purpose will be showcasing Loris’ history.

“I think anything that draws people to the downtown area is a benefit to the shopping and the businesses downtown,” said Loris Historical Society President James Edwards.

The State Theater used to be a location that would draw people to Loris. It opened in the 30s and closed up in the 70s.

Edwards is hoping the city’s new direction with the property will draw people in once again.

“We got the opportunity to purchase the property and we did so and we’re just trying to build it as a place for the community,” said Edwards.

That will be in the form of a museum, full of artifacts with Loris history. Edwards said a lot of the museum will be dedicated to trains and agriculture, things that made Loris what it is today.

The renovation will also restore the movie theater portion as an event space. The Loris Historical Society spent the past year gutting the inside to open the space back up. Now, they’ll move into working on the utilities and restoring the inside.

“We have a few things that we’re storing right now, and we’ve had a few people talk to us about giving us different things,” said Edwards. “We’re telling them to hold off until we can get some of the renovations completed at this time.”

Edwards said the society has reached out to Coastal Carolina University about potentially setting up an internship program.

In theory, they’d offer history students credit for helping to piece together Loris’ history.

Right now, however, the renovations are the priority.

The pandemic has set the timeline back a bit, but Edwards is optimistic the museum will be open sometime next year.

In order to raise money for the project, the Loris Historical Society is selling engravable bricks to be displayed in the foyer of the museum when it’s finished.

Contact Samantha Norris at 843-997-7234 or lorishistoricalsociety@gmail.com for more information on purchasing a brick or making a donation.

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