It seems that the older I get, the more interested I am in history. How we got where we are today. One piece of history that we recently toured in Birmingham is the historical Alabama theatre, a landmark in the downtown district. I’ve passed by this sign many times since we moved here and always wanted to go inside and see it and the recent Open House was the perfect excuse to take the tour and enjoy this magnificent bit of architecture that’s been preserved. I’ve been in the Fox Theatre in Atlanta many times and the Alabama reminds me so much of the Fox, but smaller. Both are from the same era and from the sign below, they call the design Spanish/Moorish. It is certainly something to behold, so come along with me for the tour.
You can see from the historical sign outside, that the theatre opened in 1927. Can you imagine this place in its heyday?!
Someone had parked an old car out front, so it seemed fitting to take a pic of it, even though this car is from the 50’s.
National Register of Historic Places. Since 1987, the theatre has been owned by Birmingham Landmarks, Inc., a non-profit organization. They now use the theatre for a wide variety of events and receptions, both public and private, weddings, classic films, national touring shows, film festivals, opera and symphony events. It is busy each year with over 250 events. We plan to return at least one weekend to take in a classic movie that is offered each summer (and they were very generous and handed out complimentary tickets to everyone who came to the Open House). Gone With The Wind is just one classic movie being featured in the summer series this year. In fact, it is showing this weekend and we are going! It's been years since I've seen it.
I was totally fascinated by all the beautiful light fixtures, as you will see from my many pics of them. This is the one in the soaring lobby.
One fixture on a wall going up the stairs.
Another view of the mirrors and fixtures in the lobby.
One of the ceilings.
A quick pic in a chair in one of the hallways. It was pretty dim in there, so pics were hard to get.
Going up one level. See how magnificent this old place is?
I’m SO happy that these old theatres have survived. I know the Fox in Atlanta was almost torn down at one time and that would be a crying shame for any of these old girls to come down. Thankfully, the Alabama has survived and looks as gracious as ever.
A row of seats.
Looking into one of the ladies rooms.
Part of the ladies room too.
Wall of windows
Looking to the stage. I loved the curve of the top of the stage, there was so much beauty to take in.
The domed ceiling.
More architectural details.
Another pretty light.
From the very top of the projection room, we had to climb some stairs to get this birds-eye view of the stage.
Statue around the theatre
Another bust against the mirror.
Loved the old signs.
Recognize this lady? Yep, that’s Mz. Scarlett herself.
The theatre is known for the old Wurlitzer organ that still plays a mighty strong tune. These guys were great with it.
Left box overlooking the stage.
Looking UP from the floor to all the levels of seating.
Above the stage.
One corridor on a floor.
More magnificent lighting.
Again, the lights. I just thought they were all stunning.
End of a row
The signs, I loved them.
Those lights, could they be any prettier?
So, we left the Alabama and went just across the street to the old Lyric Theater, which opened in 1916. Sadly, this old theatre has not survived intact and is in dire need of repair. The same owners own both theatres and it is said to cost $20 million to get this old place back up to the original state. That’s a LOT of money and I sure hope that some way, some how, they are able to restore this one too.
It’s peeling and falling apart and it’s such a shame, because this one is truly beautiful too.
You can get a glimpse of what it once looked like here.
That’s the sad part of these stories, it costs so much money to repair and revitalize these old buildings, but it sure would be a shame to tear them all down. We need to preserve our history for future generations.
I hope you enjoyed going with me to tour The Alabama. If you live here in Alabama and haven’t been inside this beautiful place, I would urge you to go and see it for yourself.
Do you have a special theatre like this in your hometown?