Oak Hill WV: Oak Hill Theater and Mayfair Theater

I was asked to research the Oak Hill Theater and in the process, I realized it was owned by the same company as the Mayfair Theater (both were run by different managers but the actual ownership was the same).

According to Cinema Treasures: The Oak Hill Theatre was open in 1934. Seating was listed at 550. This was the largest of the three theatre in Oak Hill. The theatre was operated by Newbold Theatres who operated two of the three theatres in Oak Hill. The theatre closed in the late-1960’s.

Although the author above notes the theater opened in 1934, the article regarding the demolition of the building in 1975 (see below) notes it opened 25 Feb 1938.

Image may contain: outdoor and text
Clipped from: Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
06 Feb 1975, Thu • Page 14

Checking West Virginia business licenses for Newbold Theaters, I was able to find one for Oak Hill Theaters, Inc. Incorporated by J.C. Newbold. It was a C Corp, first filed on 29 Nov 1937. It went through a voluntary dissolution on 25 Sep 1973 and became inactive. J.C. Newbold operated out of Bramwell West Virginia. Other theaters owned by JC Newbold of Bramwell WV include:

Organization NameEffective DateTermination DateTermination Reason
APPALACHIAN AMUSEMENTS, INC.11/3/19475/13/1982Voluntary Dissolution
BRAMWELL CONFECTIONERY CORPORATION1/1/19442/1/1949Voluntary Dissolution
CINEMA THEATRES, INCORPORATED7/27/19364/12/1958Voluntary Dissolution
HINTON THEATRE CORPORATION4/11/19468/22/1984Dissolution by Court Order
MCCOMAS THEATRE, INC.8/31/19379/1/1948Voluntary Dissolution
OAK HILL THEATRES, INCORPORATED11/29/19379/25/1973Voluntary Dissolution
PLAZA THEATRE, INCORPORATED7/15/19498/13/1959Voluntary Dissolution
RONCEVERTE THEATRE CORPORATION2/12/19431/16/1954Voluntary Dissolution
WAR THEATRES, INCORPORATED4/17/19486/30/1969Voluntary Dissolution
In looking up data on these theaters, they were often grouped together and called the “coalfield theaters”.

Mind you, that short list above only lists the West Virginia theaters J.C. Newbold owned. I found an article in Billboard Magazine from 1949 that notes he was building two in Virginia.

Source: Billboard Magazine 22 Oct 1949 – Page 27

In notes on the Freeman Theater in Northfork, WV, I found: The Freeman Theater was probably open from at least 1927 or 1928. Records indicate that Wurlitzer built Opus 1801, a Style D, 6 rank instrument, for the theater and shipped it to Northfork in November, 1927. The Organ remained in the theater for approximately 20 years and then saw life again in the Bramwell (WV) Presbyterian Church. J. C. Newbold, owner of the Freeman, was also a member of the Church and donated it to the church, replacing a 1917 Hook and Hastings which probably needed some new leather on the resevoirs. The Wurlitzer remained in the church until 1968 when it was replaced by a Moller Artiste. The Wurlitzer was summarily thrown out on the street for the trash hauler to dispose of. My dad collected a few pipes from the organ. I still have those pipes. In the 1980s the blower was removed and moved to Lexington, KY. Had I been home in 1968, I would have had the instrument. But, alas, it is gone forever.

My favorite Junior year English teacher told me to assume makes an ASS of U and ME. However, trying to piece together who owned the Oak Hill Theater and Mayfair Theater, one would ASS*U*ME that it was none other than Dr J.C. Newbold of Bramwell, WV.

Dr. J.C. Newbold (1883-1976)
Photo Source: https://www.bramwellwv.com/newboltattic.html

Dr Newbold was a pharmacist in Bramwell and loved entertaining and music. It would make sense given the note above regarding the Freeman Theater in Northfork. I found a post regarding a Steinway grand piano he owned which was purchased at his estate’s auction by Vaughn Cassell. In this post, Vaughn mentions finding music written by Newbold upon the purchase of the piano.

One would also assume that Newbold was a consummate entertainer on many levels and in many fashions. In my fair opinion, he had to be a cool dude.

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The Indiana Gazette
Indiana, Pennsylvania
10 Nov 1976, Wed  •  Page 1

Articles and Ads for Oak Hill Theater, Oak Hill Fayette County WV:

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Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
18 Dec 1956, Tue  •  Page 2
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
24 Aug 1968, Sat  •  Page 22
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Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
29 Aug 1968, Thu  •  Page 25
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
02 Nov 1968, Sat  •  Page 27
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
05 Jan 1969, Sun  •  Page 17
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
17 May 1969, Sat  •  Page 22
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
05 Apr 1969, Sat  •  Page 23

Articles and Ads for Mayfair Theater Oak Hill Fayette County WV:

The second theater mentioned at the beginning of this blog as being owned by Newbold Theaters was the Mayfair Theatre, open in 1940. Seating was listed at 350. According to Cinema Treasures, it closed in the late-1960’s. However, articles from 1961 note a boat company utilizing the building for a boat display.

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The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
18 Apr 1961, Tue  •  Page 3
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Beckley Post-Herald The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
06 May 1961, Sat  •  Page 1
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Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
07 May 1961, Sun  •  Page 16
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The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
09 May 1961, Tue  •  Page 2
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The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
04 Apr 1947, Fri  •  Page 2
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The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
30 Jun 1946, Sun  •  Page 2
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Beckley Post-Herald
Beckley, West Virginia
26 Oct 1945, Fri  •  Page 2
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The Raleigh Register
Beckley, West Virginia
07 Sep 1944, Thu  •  Page 2

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