on your age, perhaps you spent some time watching a movie in its cozy art-deco
theater or if you are a bit younger you've seen it in a popular movie set in
Charleston's American theater
has been delighting movie goers and movie fans for over 70 years.
the lights of the marquee above the Lowcountry landmark have been brightening
the shops, stores and restaurants of King
Many of the stars
golden age still dawn the hallways of the historic movie house in the form of
original Life Magazine covers.
Bogart, Dean, Taylor and other Hollywood
royalty great you as you glide through the theater.
The American opened
in 1942 and was named in honor of U.S service men and women proudly fighting
overseas in World War II.
After a successful
run as downtown's premiere theater, the American fell on hard times, and was
taken over in 1997 by Patrick properties.
"We operated it as
a movie theater for six years, and then closed it down for renovations and
turned it into the private event venue that it is today," Patrick Properties
C.O.O Jennifer Goldman said.
Restoring the American
to its natural luster was a labor of love.
Renovations took more than a year.
Local Artists and painters
were called in to re-create and recapture the American's art-deco accents and
taken back to the original was restored to its original conditions as best we
could; paint colors, décor everything we saved as much as we could," Goldman
Renovations to the
interior quickly spread outside the American, which, according to Goldman
helped galvanize the re-vitalization of upper King Street.
movement Goldman and her team take great pride in.
the time was a very transitioning neighborhood," Goldman said. "So we were
looking at whether or not to make it a residential property or turn it into
condos or do something commercially with it."
when it came time to making a decision for the brass at Patrick Properties it
all boiled down to a simple decision.
"You can make it
residential and help a few families or you can do something commercial and help
engage a community," She said.
And engage a
community they did.
The now flourishing
theater plays host to private parties, weddings, engagement parties and
It's cinema even doubles
as a classroom for the Charleston School of Law.
While it showed
hundreds if not thousands of movies during its long career. The American Theater
became a piece of cinematic history itself with 2004's smash film The Notebook
which prominently featured the American's Marquee.
classic love story set in the Lowcountry has adopted a feverish following,
which has translated into a steady business.
"What's fun to see
now that it is an event space is that we had a number of brides that want to
have a notebook or movie themed wedding and we are the natural spot for that,"
florescent marquee has taken on a life of its own.
get everything from congratulations messages to awareness messages about events
going on around town," Goldman said. "The
happy birthdays and the congratulations, the marriage proposals are the most
While the curtain
may have fallen on its days as a movie house, the legacy of this theater has no
The building also
houses a Charleston police substation and is one
of the few in downtown Charleston
with a basement.
Tom Crawford is a member of the Meteorological Society. He has been awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and has been recognized as SC's Best Weathercaster by the AP.More >>
Tom Crawford is a member of the Meteorological Society. Tom has been awarded the Seal of Approval from the American Meteorological Society and has been recognized as South Carolina's Best Weathercaster by the Associated Press.More >>