The DeSoto
AF Clock Ticking for IG 22-23

Renovation For Our Future

The DeSoto is a treasure We are Always Working to maintain

Your generosity ensures that our work continues year by year so that our children and grandchildren will enjoy this historical and beautiful center of culture.

Your generosity ensures we can meet the requirements of  matching grants so that projects are completed efficiently.

Your generosity ensures that the Jewel of Broad Street will be restored to its original splendor.

winter/spring 2022


Atlanta-based Southface Institute, a national  environmental non-profit, awarded the DeSoto Theatre a $30,000 grant in Spring 2021 for technical assistance and energy-savings projects  to make the DeSoto's historic 1929 stucture a "greener" building. With environmental upgrades carefully identified, prioritized and funded by Southface,  the DeSoto will be able to reduce its energy costs and redirect those funds to ongoing restoration efforts and core programming. The 2:1 match grant requires that DeSoto contribute a $15,000 match in funds raised from the community.

In consultation with Southface, Energy Consulting Services in Atlanta was hired in the fall of 2021 to insulate, air seal and weatherize the historic DeSoto Theatre. As a way to highlight Southface's new commitment to help historic theatres, the non-profit was going to feature the Historic DeSotoTheatre Foundation in partnership with Rome Little Theatre at Southface's annual fall fundraising gala in Atlanta.  Cancelled due to a surge in Covid cases,  the gala was to feature RLT actors helping provide the evening's entertainment  in front of a large audience from Atlanta's business and philanthropic community.  Southface is currently in the process of interviewing several DeSoto and community members, filming a piece about the direct benefits that their energy conservation will provide to the arts. 

FALL 2021


Thanks to a generous donation from Romans Linda and Jim Owens, and in preparation for numerous concerts and holiday events, the Concessions Lounge is now beautifully furnished with consoles, chairs and wall hangings. The center of the room is open for concessions lines and community gatherings.  

JUNE 2021


We are thankful to life-long Roman Villa Sulzbacher Hizer for her impactful legacy gift earmarked towards beautifying the front rooms of the DeSoto.  Her gift this year allowed us to add the beautiful period antique furniture and reproductions that complement the  custom-made, curved, floating bench that she helped fund in 2020. 

The beautiful new  look for the lounge came together thanks also to the vision and generosity of interior designer Tommy Lam. With an uncanny ability to remember every detail of what his grandfather O.C. Lam's theater used to look like, Tommy brought the 1940s Art Deco Lounge back to life. 

The most stylish room in town is now the DeSoto Lounge!  We are excited to welcome back the  re-created style and sophistication of the Jewel of Broad Street during the glamorous Hollywood Regency era!

January 2021


New auditorium heat and air units, thanks in part to a GCA $75,000 grant

We're honored to have won a  competitive, state-wide grant in Fall 2020 that helped us replace and relocate the auditorium's hvac units. The timing could not have been more perfect, as
air filtration and ventilation especially in public places take on new, critical importance in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Winning the Georgia Council for the Arts Cultural Facilities Grant reinforces the importance of the DeSoto and other arts and culture  facilities to serve as economic engines for their communities. Completed successfully, the GCA grant opens the doors to additional grants and projects that may have an even bigger impact. But we need your help! A 60/40 grant means that our community must have a buy-in into the project. With your donations and by helping us spread the word, you can help us raise $40,000 to complete this important $115,000 project.

october 2020

Historic recreation of the curved, floating banquette seat in the DeSoto Lounge 

We are fortunate to have details of a leather banquette in the original plans of the 1940s addition of the Art Deco Lounge. But, we’re even more fortunate to have Villa Sulzbacher Hizer as the wonderful donor who made this project possible! Please thank Villa for spearheading the completion of the DeSoto Lounge's restoration, first with the sophisticated banquette and later with the glamorous period furniture. 
The DeSoto is in good company: the banquette that was delivered in October, 2020 was custom-made by Corn Upholstery Co., an Atlanta company established in 1946 that made all the beautiful furniture at the new Marquee Club at the Fox Theatre. WE ARE STAR-STRUCK!

august 2020

Historic recreation of the Art Deco neon lights

The neon lights that used to illuminate the DeSoto’s entrance lobby and Lounge are back!  As with the banquette, this work was also based on the original plans for the 1940s addition. The recreation of the neon lights was possible thanks to two matching grants awarded to the DeSoto by the Rome Area Heritage Foundation.  Thanks to this group's support of historic preservation, a modern version of neon now highlights the theater’s distinctive architectural features with a vintage glow. Our favorite? The neon behind the curved banquette that will illuminate the curved wall behind it!

Thank you for the funds and support that you continue to contribute to the restoration of the DeSoto!  We have, of course, been continually updating and maintaining the electrical, plumbing, roof, and other important "behind the scenes" improvements for which we don't have Instagram-worthy pictures. But none of these less exciting OR new, more exciting projects would be possible without your help and generosity. 

We have missed you and hope to celebrate these beautiful Art Deco renovations soon, while also enjoying the coolness of the new auditorium hvac units and new energy projects. Meanwhile, follow our progress from a safe distance here on our website, and on social media  Instagram  &  Facebook throughout the year!

Want to help in our efforts?

Click on the button to donate towards these projects


DeSoto Theatre Promotional Videos:  2009 & 2019 


The DeSoto is honored to be only one of three theatres featured in Atlanta's  Fox Theatre Institute's 10th Anniversary movie.  We're thankful for FTI's mentorship and support as they continue to engage with us and other historic theatres, "helping revitalize communities one theater at a time."

Polar Express Poster 2019v2

About the Historic DeSoto Theatre


In early 1928, O. C. Lam, owner of Lam Amusement Company, laid plans to construct a new movie theater in Rome, Georgia, modeled after New York’s Roxy. It was the first venue in the South designed and built as a “talkie” for sound films.
When the DeSoto opened in August 1929, it was one of the seven largest movie venues in Georgia.
It was an instant success and the pride of Rome. The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation maintains and preserves this legacy for future generations.

DeSoto Theatre

About the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation

The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to secure the future of the iconic 1929 theatre in downtown Rome.
We are committed to preserving the tradition and legacy that is the Jewel of Broad Street. It is our mission to usher in the movie house that introduced us to “talkies” into the age of “selfies” and social media.
In 2019, DeSoto Theatre celebrates 90 years of downtown entertainment, the only theatre left in Downtown Rome’s once-thriving arts district. 

Our Foundation is maintained by our fundraising events and the generous donations of our supporters. We could not do this without you. Thank you!

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Help us Keep the Jewel of Broad Street Shining Bright.

Please donate to our Annual Fund. Your donations not only help us to complete the restoration of this cherished landmark, but will transform the DeSoto once again into a modern performance venue able to attract world-class acts to Rome.

Marquee $5,000 and up
Facade $2,500 - $4,999
Medallion $1,000 - $2,499
Bricks & Mortar $500 - $999
Foundation $250 - $499
Ground Breaker $100 - $249