If you live in North Central Alabama, hopefully, part of your holiday tradition includes a trip to the Alabama Theatre. Each year for about ten days in December this historic theatre screens holiday classics such as “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “White Christmas” and “Miracle on 34th Street”. A few months ago, we were fortunate enough to acquire one of the historic film projectors and some old reels that originally belonged to this majestic theatre. While the business of Southern Accents is all about architectural salvage, we also love restoration stories and this is a good one! This historical building almost became a parking lot in the late 1980’s.
The Alabama Theatre was built in 1927. It is the only remaining theatre of it’s size in the state of Alabama from that era. The theatre was the very first public building in the state to be air conditioned. Seating 2,500 it was known in it’s early days for hosting the biggest Mickey Mouse Club in the world! It was originally constructed to show silent films and is the home to an ornate Mighty Wurlitzer organ, one of only 25 organs of it’s type to ever be built. It was because of this rare organ that the majestic theatre was saved from destruction. In 1987 a non-profit organization, Birmingham Landmarks, Inc, was formed to purchase the building in an effort to save the Mighty Wurlitzer. In 1998, The Alabama underwent a complete restoration. Soon after, the resurrected theatre once again opened it’s doors for operation.
In addition to screening beloved classics during the holiday season, the Alabama hosts a variety of events and theatrical productions throughout the year. The building is currently on the National Register of Historical places and in 1993 received the designation of Official Historic Theatre of Alabama. Located less than an hour south of Southern Accents, planning a trip to this historic landmark is well worth the effort. This building is on our list of “must see” places in the state of Alabama! To read more about it’s history and view the schedule of upcoming events, visit the Alabama Theatre online.
Theatre picture and historical facts from www.alabamatheatre.com