Terror in the Theater Milton's Haunted Imogene Halloween Attraction, Ghost Hunt, & Paranormal Investigation!
October 15, 2022,
10 Am to 11:00 Pm
Haunting and Paranormal Activity
The Imogene Theater, 6866 Caroline St., Milton, suffered heavy structural damage in January 2009 from a devastating fire but was rebuilt several years later. This does not prevent people from seeing a man walking on the balcony or the ghost of young Imogene Gooch, the daughter of the man who bought the theater in the 1920s and the building’s namesake.
The location is rumored to be built on an Indian burial ground.
Imogene Theatre History
After the Great Milton Fire of 1909 destroyed most of the downtown commercial district, there was a need for a new public auditorium in town. Thus, in 1912, the president of Milton’s First National Bank, Stephen J. Harvey, financed the construction of the Milton Opera House, which opened its doors in October 1913.
Imogene Theatre Play Bill for the Wizard Of OZ, 1939.
The auditorium’s earliest venues were traveling vaudeville shows, and silent moving pictures – the very first of which was The Passion Play – a six reel depiction of the life of Christ. The original roll-up door and block & tackle used by performers to hoist their large steamer trunks up to the theatre level, are still intact on the back of the building. In 1921 the Gooch family bought the auditorium and renamed it after their young daughter – Imogene. Tragically, Mr. Gooch passed away only months after taking ownership of the theatre, but the name stuck.
In 1924, three-time Presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan gave a speech on the Imogene stage. By 1938, the Imogene was undergoing its first renovation which included central air – a first in Milton. With the advent of sound and color at the movies – classics such as Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of OZ graced Imogene’s Screen. From the very beginning, the first floor of the building was used as retail space and was even home to the Milton Post Office for almost thirty years.
Ultimately, the theatre closed its doors in 1946 when a new theatre was opened downtown on Elmira Street. The last of the businesses to occupy the first floor were gone by 1980. With a Failing roof and peeling plaster, the abandoned building was purchased by The Santa Rosa Historical Society in 1985. With the help of state grants, the society saved The Imogene and reopened it to the public in 1987.
Then, Nearly 100 years to the day of the 1909 fire, another conflagration ripped through Downtown Milton, severely damaging the theatre. Now, The Historical Society has tended to her wounds and stands ready to welcome the public once again.
After almost 100 years after the original fire that inspired the creation of the theatre, Downtown Milton was struck by another fire that badly damaged the theatre in 2009. Luckily with the help of over seven fire departments, the fire was put out and the building was saved. Many saw this fire as a blessing, as it gave the historical society a chance to properly restore the theatre to how it looked when it first opened.
Since the Imogene has been fully restored and is open to the public. The first floor of the theatre is now utilized as a museum that tells of all the hardships and wonders that the theatre had faced in the past. The second floor is still used as a theatre with many different events. The Imogene now hosts swing dancing events, high school jazz concerts that are open to the public, and even some movie nights. This small two-story theatre is a great place for family fun and can even be rented out for private events. Located in the center of downtown Milton and across the street from the Blackwater River, the theatre is the perfect place for community outreach and entertainment.
See more photos visit the
Santa Rosa Historical Society at