Birmingham’s iconic ALABAMA Theatre sign is back! Exclusive video of the A and L lifted into place

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The ALABAMA Theatre sign has been restored. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Even though it has only been gone since February of this year, we dearly miss the iconic ALABAMA Theatre sign on 3rd Avenue North.

Well, today, September 23, 2019, the first day of Fall, it is back.

Bham Now captured on video this morning, the final A and L being attached to the iconic ALABAMA sign.

A little bit old and a little bit new

According to Larry Donaldson, a Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. board member and organ crew chief, the newly restored ALABAMA sign on 3rd Avenue North has a little bit of the 1957 sign and new and improved 2019 parts.

For example the red border on the sign is from the 1957 sign.

The green on the sign was steel. It has now been replaced with aluminum making the sign much lighter and safer.

The structural steel that held the sign has been replaced with new steel.

The letters were replaced in 2018, so of course they remain.

And finally, the neon has been replaced with LED lights. How many LED light bulbs are contained in the sign…. 960 per side, a total of 1920.

“The new LED is all around the letters plus going down the center. It is going to likely double the brightness than the one on 18th street – which it should be,” stated Donaldson.

Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now


“The blade sign at the Alabama Theatre is iconic, not just in Birmingham but in the state,” added Glenny Brock, Outreach Coordinator for Birmingham Landmarks, Inc. “Whenever anyone does a story about anything happening in Alabama, many times the visual they use is the Alabama Theatre sign. It is iconic and we are very proud of it. The Alabama Theatre is the anchor of the Theatre District.”

More restoration work inside

Alabama Theatre’s current ladies’ restrooms. Photo by Nathan Watson for BhamNow.

Along with a newly restored sign Brock also outlined additional renovations occurring at the Alabama Theatre.

They include:

  • Completely re-doing the backstage area to make it more attractive and comfortable for touring artists and musicians from all over the world.
  • Putting in new carpet throughout the theatre.
  • Enhancing the sound and lighting system.
  • Adding 20 toilets to the women’s lounge downstairs. For 92 years there have only been 5 toilets in the women’s lounge!

More than preservation, a working venue

The ALABAMA Theatre sign was restored on September 23, 2019. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

“We have never done preservation for preservation’s sake,” concluded Brock. “We have done preservation to make these working venues. The mission of Birmingham Landmarks is to preserve and protect these two theatres and historic buildings for the use and enjoyment of Alabama citizens and their descendents. We take that mission very seriously. This is not a fancy museum piece, we are making a vibrant anchor for this community.”

How to support the Alabama and Lyric Theatres

Want to support both the Alabama Theatre and Lyric Theatre? Become a Showplace Society member. Members receive exclusive pre-sale codes and other benefits.

Or, even better, give to the endowment.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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