Documenting the American South


Going to the Show


, Wilmington, North Carolina

Dates of Operation 7/1905 - 1930*
Performance Types musical performances , movies (7/1905)
Racial Policy
DescriptionIt is difficult to pin down exactly what Lumina was in a single term. It was a dance pavilion, beach resort, special events venue, bowling alley, penny arcade, lunch room, and, beginning in the summer of 1905, a place many Wilmingtonians experienced movies. The main attractions of Lumina were its position on the beach and its 6,000 square foot dance pavilion, featuring a huge dance floor and seats ringing it for spectators
Building NotesIn the Lumina’s first season of operation in 1905 a movie screen was erected on the beach, so that movies could be viewed from the beach porches, and, later, the terrace or “Hurricane Deck,” as it was known. “Movies over the waves” became a Lumina tradition. Rather than a pianist or orchestra, the waves of the Atlantic Ocean provided accompaniment to the silent films.
Associated Persons
Bonitz, Henry E. architect
Skelding, A.B. manager
Associated Organizations
Tidewater Power Company unknown (1904*)


Newspaper Clippings

  1. Theatorium About Ready
    Wilmington Dispatch - 5/29/1907
    Tags: company; illustrated song; ladies and children; manager; opening notice; renovation; storefront theaters; ventilation
  2. Ad for trips from Raleigh to Lumina Theater - notable
    Raleigh News and Observer - 6/11/1909
    Tags: company; notable
  3. Lumina - Ad - program change
    Wilmington Dispatch - 7/8/1917
    Tags: band or orchestra; film title; hours of operation
  4. Lumina Pride of Wrightsville Is Centre of Beach Gaiety
    Wilmington Dispatch - 6/3/1921
    Tags: open-air screening; seasonal exhibition
  5. Lumina Grand Opening
    Wilmington Star - 6/17/1932
    Tags: admission price; band or orchestra; music; opening notice; promotions