New event center to play on historic charm

LIVINGSTON – There’s a lot of history surrounding the Upper Cumberland’s newest venue.

Built around 1900, the South Church Street Event Center in Livingston has served as an antique store, a wholesale grocery, even Livingston Shirt Factory.

Today, the newly repurposed open space, about 5,500 square feet with the ability to seat 200-300 guests, is open to host a variety of events, from weddings, business dinners or fundraisers, reunions, church functions and more. While smaller-scale venues like South Church Street may be a dime a dozen, organizers say it’s the building’s background that sets it apart – plus the ability for its renters to completely customize their event, from lighting, seating and more.

“There are a few places (available to the community here), and this is another space, but it’s a different kind of space,” said Shirley Price, marketing and booking coordinator for the center. “I would say the large open room (sets it apart), the historical value that it has and its rustic look. You have many opportunities to make it your own. It’s just different.”

Building owner Johnny Holman bought the building, located at 313 S. Church St., down from the town’s courthouse square, around 1989, he said. It’s definitely required upkeep over the years; most recently, the floors have been finished, new windows installed and a dressing room and stage area with room for a band added. There’s also a small kitchen and bar.

“At one time, during the days of the shirt factory, this was the best part of Livingston to be in,” he said. He’s hoping the building’s new purpose will help renew activity.

“This will help this part of town,” Price said. “People know there’s things happening down here. There’s plans in the works to fix the sidewalks, including our side, and make better parking.”

Price said they’ve received numerous inquiries since officially opening in January. The center’s online calendar shows a number of events scattered throughout the year.

“We wanted to have a place you could come in and make your own,” Holman said. “There’s nothing (else) like this.”

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