The Historic Wink Theatre, built by J.C.W. Wink in 1941, is one of the oldest structures in downtown Dalton.
Then Wink was built to be “a small-town version of the Fox Theatre in Atlanta”, and designed to be one of Dalton’s Principle Attractions. Mr. Wink had an extraordinary love for the community and was quoted as saying, “The Wink was built for the people of Dalton and Whitfield County, its Your Theatre.”
The restoration of the Wink Theatre began in 1998 and was completed in 2002 through the efforts of Mr. Troy Hall, Who had the foresight and desire to preserve one of Dalton’s few remaining historical treasures.
Troy Hall, retired owner of Silver Leaf Carpet and present owner of WTTI radio station, purchased the Wink properties in 1998. With the same foresight and love of the community as Mr. Wink, Mr. Hall completely restored the original grandeur of the Wink and reopened its doors as a movie and performance theatre.
Mr. Hall completely restored the interior of the 19,000 sq. ft. two story building and 8,000 sq. ft. of adjacent structures, while preserving all possible original structures to assure it’s placement on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The original Marquee was restored and a replica of the original ticket booth was built. All wall colors and color schemes in the draperies and the carpet were meticulously matched to the original colors of the Wink, found during the renovation process. Requisite art work, in the form of hand made ornamental plasters, sculptures, and friezes are in progress by Artisan, Wei Ning Song from China, who is now residing in Dalton. The final step of the renovation was the installation of nearly 1,100 seats by the Irwin Seating Company, which furnished seating for Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Part of the theatre’s charm centers around nostalgia. Many remember growing up watching westerns – once a film star rode his horse down the isle to the delight of the audience before a flick. Others recall first dates, getting caught smoking in the bathroom, World War II news clips and footage from Europe, the hippie era, Gone With the Wind, Star Wars to The Black Hole… the memories are endless.
The Wink Theatre has the distinction of being one of the oldest structures remaining in Dalton and the only example of Art Moderne in North Georgia. It also has the distinction of being the only theater in Northwest Georgia to have the versatility of a movie theatre to a performance theatre capable of hosting any touring or local theatre, musical or dance company.
The Wink Theatre again “belongs to the people of Dalton,” reopening its doors in July of 2002, with a sold-out performance of the Platters. The Wink Theatre now belongs to Rock Bridge Community Church.