The Fox Theatre, world-renowned as a concert and event venue like no other, began its story in a most unusual way.

In 1928, the Fox was originally conceived as a home for Atlanta’s Shriners organization. To create a headquarters befitting the group’s prominent social status, the Shriners looked to the ancient temples of the Far East to inspire a mosque-style structure befitting their stature. Storied architectural gems like the Alhambra in Spain and Egypt’s Temple of Kharnak heavily influenced the building’s elaborate and intensely ornate design. Bursting with soaring domes, minarets and sweeping archways, the exterior of the building gave way to stunning gold leaf details, sumptuous textiles and exquisite trompe l’oeil art (an art technique that uses realistic imagery to create optical illusions) inside.

Word about the magnificent new Fox Theatre quickly spread. Its striking red-carpet entryway and ornate gilt work, soaring turreted ceilings and stained glass windows, all leading to a vast cobalt “sky” with a sea of twinkling stars, were the perfect accent for the glamorous productions audiences lined up to see. Despite its popularity, the Fox’s grandeur couldn’t save it from the far-reaching effects of the Great Depression. In 1932, William Fox and the theatre were forced to declare bankruptcy, and Fox lost his namesake movie palace. The Fox was auctioned on courthouse steps and sold to a private company for a paltry $75,000 during Mr. Fox’s bankruptcy proceedings, but remained a beloved destination for Atlanta’s moviegoers.

But the rocky fate of the Fox was still in flux. By the late 1960s, beautiful landmark movie palaces like the Fox were falling out of favor, replaced by suburban movieplexes built for efficiency and multiple-screen showings. As customers began migrating to the suburbs, the Fox fell into disrepair, and in 1974, Mosque Inc. closed the Fox’s doors, seemingly forever. This stunning landmark, beloved for generations, was suddenly facing demolition. Confronted with the possibility of losing their beloved landmark, the residents of Atlanta sprang into action. They created a non-profit called Atlanta Landmarks and launched the now-legendary “Save The Fox” campaign, which raised funds through every possible means – collecting donations from both public and private organizations, organizing benefit concerts featuring everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Liberace, even collecting pennies at local businesses, all to save the Fox from what seemed a certain fate.

Saving the Fox truly was a community achievement, a journey of a thousand small steps. Of the $3 million raised, no single donation was over $400,000; the vast majority of the fund was made up of small personal donations from Atlanta residents intent on rescuing this stunning structure. In 1975, after months of painstaking restoration efforts, the Fox opened its doors once again, to the joy and celebration of the patrons and employees who had pulled it from the brink of disaster.

Follow this link to purchase a copy of the Fox Theater

The Fox Theater, Atlanta GA