The historic, 90-year-old Birmingham Theatre has won a $120,000 preservation grant to create a replica of the missing “Alabama” sign on 18th Street!
Through a revitalization program sponsored by the National Trust along with American Express, National Geographic, and Main Street America, this iconic part of Birmingham’s past will once again grace the old theater building.
Many Birmingham area residents are already familiar with the oppulent, Art Deco 1927 theater on 3rd Avenue North. In 1996 the old building underwent major renovations, and resortations.
The 60-foot red, white and blue sign is an icon of both the city and the state. What some may not know is that from 1927 to 1957, a twin Alabama sign lit 18th Street from just above the double doors that lead to the stage.
This effort began when REV Birmingham, an innovative business incubator, nominated the Alabama Theatre for the Partners in Preservation’s 2017 Main Street competition, a community based partnership created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Their goal is to raise awareness of the importance of preserving historic places and the role these places have in sustaining local communities.
Birmingham’s sign is one of the top 10 finalist. The local community, in fact the whole state, got behind the effort and cast online votes to total over 54,000…and it worked!
David Fleming, CEO of Rev Birmingham said:
We are honored to partner with Birmingham Landmarks on leveraging this opportunity to bring national grant funding
to a project that will quite literally shine a new light in Birmingham. The volume of local votes and, of course, local donations show strong support for historic preservation in our beautiful city with no shortage of historic charm in need of preserving.
Birmingham Landmarks Inc., the owner of the theater, hope to unveil and light the new sign at their New Year’s Eve celebration and the 90th birthday street-party of the theater, on Dec. 31, 2017. There will be a concert featuring Taylor Hicks, and Sister Hazel.
Be sure to make plans to cheer the unveiling of the “Alabama”sign at the stroke of midnight; an exciting a symbol of our state and city’s past and the revitilzation happening today!