The Center Theatre was designed by Earle G. Stillwell, Architect of Hendersonville, NC, who designed over 70 theaters throughout the South. The Center was built in the Art Moderne style, a streamlined style similar to Art Deco but dominated by simple, clean lines.

Constructed in the late 1930s, the Center Theatre first opened its doors to the public with a “soft opening” on February 9, 1940 with a showing of Congo Maisie with Ann Southern. The Grand Opening event was held on the evening of February 12, 1940 and featured the motion picture Remember the Night starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray.

After years of continuous use as a movie theatre, the Center closed its doors in December of 1991 and has remained vacant. The City of Monroe purchased the Center Theatre property in 2013 and is currently negotiating a long-term lease of the property to the Center Theatre Development group.