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A Dixie Carter Remembrance


Dixie Carter, a native of McLemoresville and a 1957 graduate of Huntingdon High School is the namesake for the Dixie Carter Performing Arts Center in Huntingdon.

Dixie, who added grace to her given name, was the daughter of a variety store owner, Hal Carter.

The late actress was best known for her role as Julia Sugarbaker on the TV series, Designing Women. She was a star of Broadway, the silver screen and the small screen.

The late Huntingdon Mayor Dale Kelley contacted his high school classmate, Dixie, and said he and the Town Council planned to construct a performing arts center in downtown Huntingdon. The humbled Dixie considered it. Her husband, Hall Holbrook told her to agree to it, that it would never be built. She did agree and it was built.

It included a performing arts theater named in honor of Hal Holbrook, who provided technical advice during its construction. It is a 470-seat theatre. Both Dixie and Hal performed in the theater during its early years. Today, it the venue for many great acts - both local and nation talent. It offers training in the arts and showcases the visual arts of many local talent artists.

But all things did not go as planned. Prior to its 2005 debut performances, which included a Huntingdon Hayride, followed by Dixie Carter and the Nashville Symphony, the construction of the building had some setbacks.

The original plan was to gut a row of 25-year-old buildings in downtown Huntingdon. Once the demolition began, a portion of the building collapsed - mostly the southern wall. The entire structure was razed. 70,000 of the bricks were reused as part of the new construction. Some of the aged wood was repurposed for doorframes and exposed beams. Buster Barger and Barger Construction were instrumental in bringing the structure to fruition.

The facility opened in 2005 to great fanfare. It is now in its 17th season of programming. For more information, visit dixiepac.net.