The Apollo Theater first opened as a movie theater in 1941. For many years, the 900-seat theater provided countless hours of entertainment, and was a hub of activity on the Jefferson Avenue commercial strip. The theater stopped showing movies when a fire caused extensive damage in 1966. It was subsequently used for community gatherings and other various activities until it was abandoned in the late 1980s and taken over by the city in a tax foreclosure proceeding.
Various community residents advocated for the rebuilding of the Apollo. Initially, the intention was to restore the Apollo back into a movie theater. However, when organizers were unable to secure private sector support for a movie theater at the site, it was decided that the Apollo should be converted into a telecommunications facility, primarily to provide state-of-the-art facilities for Public, Educational and Governmental Access.
The City reconstructed the facility to accommodate TV production and broadcast capabilities. The result is an 18,000-sq. ft. facility that contains two TV studios, four private editing suites, a conference room, a classroom, and other amenities.
Although it is no longer a performance venue, much of the old theater was maintained, with the old marquee replaced by an electronic message board. The lobby is decorated with a unique "tile quilt" project displaying the artistic talent of many area residents.