Plaza Theatre

115 East Main Street
Glasgow, KY 42141


The Plaza Theatre is a 1,000+ seat historic restored movie and vaudeville house. Built from 1930 to 1934, the Plaza opened its doors on August 23, 1934 with a showing of the movie A Cat's Paw.

The theatre was renovated from 2001 to 2005 and re-opened April 16, 2005.  It operates year round as a performing arts  center and rental facility.


Bruce Aspley began his career in the theater business in 1917 when he purchased the Lyon Opera House, which he remodeled and reopened as the Trigg Theatre. Money from this successful operation was used to finance the building of his dream, the Plaza Theatre.  He traveled widely in the late 1920's looking for ideas to incorporate in this new movie house.

Construction of the building, designed by local architect, Dixon Rapp, began in the spring of 1930.  Financial difficulties caused by the Great Depression made it necessary to proceed only as funds became available.  The construction took four years to complete.  According to Aspley family sources, the tile and sculptures were imported from Italy.  The Plaza became the second air conditioned building in Glasgow, the Trigg Theatre being the first.  Sound was provided by a state of the art RCA system.  Three giant projectors were installed to show multi-reel movies.

Bruce’s original plan called for the Plaza to open on his birthday, July 4th, but it was not ready.  The opening came on August 23, 1934, and was accompanied by full-page ads in local newspapers.  The first show was The Cat’s Paw, starring Harold Lloyd.  All 1,500 seats were reportedly sold out.  Admission was 25 cents for adults in the evening, 20 cents for matinees, and 10 cents for children for all shows.  These prices continued for many years. According to Duane Aspley, Bruce’s granddaughter, Mrs. Mary Aspley sold tickets, while Bruce greeted guests, and Sam Gass ran the projectors.  William Beatty Jones reportedly sat on a stool for hours in front of the ticket window to buy the first ticket. Bobby Goodman admits to having also been in that first audience.

In April 1935, Mr. Aspley announced a new policy of offering stage shows as well as screen shows. They were usually on the same bill and at “no advance in price.” Uncle Dave Macon on Wednesday and Thursday, May 1st and 2nd, 1935 headed the first live act under this new policy.  Because of the proximity to Nashville, many country music artist appeared at the Plaza.  Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, the Carter Family, Flatt and Scruggs, Porter Wagoner, and Dolly Parton were among those who performed here.

Not all headliners were from country music.  Dinah Shore, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry were among others who visited the Plaza.  Gene Autry's January 15th, 1938, appearance was advertised as continuous shows from 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM. During one of these shows 3 year old Roberta Sanders responded to Gene’s invitation and went on stage with Gene and “Champion the Wonder Horse”.

On one occasion the on-stage attraction was female Siamese twins who talked of their experiences and offered musical numbers.

Throughout most of the time of its operation, the Plaza offered a different program of movies four times each week.  New movies opened each Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.  One notable exception to this pattern was the original showing of Gone With the Wind.  This movie opened for a seven day run on March 21, 1940.  Another exception was an “advance in price.”  All reserved seats were $1.26 including tax and were available at Cherry’s Coffee Shop.  The Wednesday matinee showing was continuous with no reservations and at a cost of 75 cents.  The movie returned for a regular engagement in February 1941.

During World War II Mr. Aspley was active in the effort to sell war bonds and was recognized for his efforts by the state of Kentucky and by the Secretary of the Treasury and President Franklin Roosevelt.   Food drives at Thanksgiving, free shows for children at Christmas, and charity events to meet special needs were also held at the Plaza.  Bruce Aspley was twice honored as Glasgow’s Man of the Year.

In 1953 the Plaza Theatre made the necessary alterations to show its first 3-D movie, House of Wax.  Two years later Bruce and Mary Aspley retired and soon moved to Florida.   Their son, Walter “Jigger” Aspley, assumed management of the Plaza and operated it until he sold it in the 1970s.  The theater was then rented to different groups for a variety of uses until it closed in the 1990s.

The Plaza was purchased by the City of Glasgow in September 2001 for $200,000. Renovation was begun under the leadership of Mayor Charlie Honeycutt who worked tirelessly on the project even after he left office. Renovations have been made possible through government grants, city funds, and the contributions of individuals and groups.  Your support is still needed to make this venture a success.

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