The Fox Theater – Atlanta
The historic Fox Theater in midtown Atlanta is a sight to behold that harkens back to the golden age of cinema.
Originally intended as a 4600 seat meeting hall and headquarters for the Shriners, the Fox opened its doors in December of 1929.
Its many domes, minarets and arches display the Moorish, Islamic, and Egyptian influences commonly seen from the Shriners.
Due to the mounting costs this ostentatious project left the Shriners scrambling for funds to complete it. This led to arrangement for additional funding from movie mogul and theater developer William Fox. The final price tag for the completed 250,ooo square foot project came in at just under 3 million dollars.
Timing was not on their side however. If you remember December 1929 was only 2 months after the great stock market crash which is what led to the start of the Great Depression.
After a little more than two years of screening ‘talking pictures’ and live entertainment the Fox was taken into bankruptcy and both the Shriners and Mr. Fox lost their ecomonic interests in the building.
A private company then purchased the Fox at auction on the Atlanta courthouse steps for the ridiculously cheap price of only $75,000.
The Fox thrived for well ever three decades well into the 1960’s, and was renowned as one of the premiere locations for events ranging from opera, to big band and swing concerts, and live theater, not to mention the hundreds of movies that were shown there.
Unfortunately by the mid to late 1960’s the Fox fell out of favor, a victim to urban sprawl in the metro Atlanta area. As more and more people fled the city for the suburbs, large halls such as the Fox were no longer in demand.
In the mid 1970’s a non-profit foundation was formed to raise the funds needed to renovate and save the Fox. Benefit concerts were held and private donations came pouring in from all over, allowing this grand building to be brought back to its former glory.
How did all that hard work to save the Fox turn out?
I’d say it turned out wonderfully. Today the Fox is host to over 250 shows and almost a half million visitors per year. Since 2011 it has been ranked in the top 3 theaters in North America for gross ticket sales.
If you’re planning a visit to the area and are interested in taking a closer look, the Fox is located at 660 Peachtree Street, NE in midtown Atlanta.
If you’re not fortunate enough to hold a ticket to an event at the Fox, they do also offer guided tours of this historic gem. Check out their website for complete details.
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