The Morton Building was built in 1910 by Monroe Bowers ("Pink") Morton, a prominent, local, African-American businessman. At one time, the Morton Building formed the core of the downtown black business district. Many of Athens' black doctors, dentists and pharmacists practiced in the Morton Building.
The theatre was opened on May 18, 1910, for vaudeville acts and local, regional and national performers. During the 1930s, the theatre was modified to become a movie house. In 1954, a small fire broke out in the projection room, and the movie theater was closed. However, various street level businesses continued their operations.
In 1980, the building was purchased by a nonprofit group, and local bands, such as Dreams So Real, the B-52's and R.E.M., occasionally used the building for rehearsal space and filming music videos. In 1987, residents approved a special projects local option sales tax referendum that included the restoration of the theatre. In fall 1993, the theatre was re-opened. Restored and adapted as a performing arts space, the Morton now caters to local community and touring groups hosting live musical concerts, musicals, dramas, church services, weddings, dance concerts, receptions, poetry readings, and pageants.