509 S Mill Ave
Tempe, AZ 85281
CATEGORY: Historical Properties
YEAR BUILT: 1938
Harkins Theaters are a common sight in The Valley these days. But what some may not know is that the popular theater chain got its start in what would become Downtown Tempe. Valley Art Theatre, formerly College Theatre, was not the first venture for Dwight "Red" Harkins, but it certainly is his longest sustaining.
This building is particularly notable due to its unique, Depression-era characteristics. It is one of the last remaining single-screen theaters in Arizona, has a free standing ticket booth, and wood frame movie poster cases. Significant renovations include the demolition of the southern retail space, leaving the theater and northern retail space availabe.