​Tryon Historical Museum

Tales of Tryon

September 18, 2019 - 5:30 pm

Guest Speaker - Alan Leonard


"The Tryon Theater Murder of 1953"

On a quiet Sunday morning in the late Spring of 1953, Edward Ball, the 30 year old manager of the Tryon Theater, was gunned down in cold blood, in the foyer of his workplace as he prepared for the afternoon matinee.  The murder never solved and still unpunished, lives in the recollection of old-time Tryonites who discuss it, but in hushed tones.  Was justice the victim of a small-town conspiracy of silence, enforced by a local "good old boy system" on steroids? We will examine, perhaps for the last time, the publicly known facts, as well as available fragments of the long discussed back story of a 66 year old first degree murder that took place within a half-block of the town's police station.  Can light be thrown on one of Tryon's persistent mysteries?


Alan Leonard's Bio


Alan is a native and life-long resident of Tryon, and a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, both undergrad and law.  He was a career prosecutor, and during his 30 years in the courtroom, was District Attorney for 12 Western North Carolina counties, where he specialized in homicide prosecutions.  At the same time, Alan served with the North Carolina Air National Guard and retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel with 5,000 hours of flying time, which included combat sorties in the Balkans and Persian Gulf.  He is now an attorney with Smith Rodgers Law Enforcement Legal Consultants, and enjoys the every-day delights of life in Tryon.  Alan has served on the boards of the Tryon Historical Museum, the Polk County Historical Association, the Pacolet Area Conservancy and Tryon Fine Arts Center. 

  Of his Tales of Tryon talk, Alan declares that "This is my last murder case!"