The Florida Theater - Jacksonville, FL
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member lazyCachers
N 30° 19.586 W 081° 39.330
17R E 436985 N 3355139
Quick Description: Located on the corner of E. Forsyth St. and N. Newnan St. in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 8/20/2010 9:37:24 PM
Waymark Code: WM9GXW
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member the federation
Views: 7

Long Description:
From the "Drive the Old Spanish Trail" website:
"The new jewels erected after the fire include the lavish 1927 Florida Theater (128 E. Forsyth Street), where in 1956 Elvis performed his first concert in Florida. During the performance, Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding sat observing Presley’s movements to ensure that his trademark swivel did not become overly suggestive."
(visit link)

Taken from the Florida Theatre website:
"The Florida Theatre originally opened to the public on April 8, 1927, as downtown Jacksonville's 15th—and largest—movie theatre. With lavish interior decor unmatched in Jacksonville, the Florida Theatre is the city's last remaining example of 1920's fantasy architecture and is one of only four remaining high-style movie palaces built in Florida during this period.

The elaborate interior was designed by R.E. Hall of New York and Jacksonville architect Roy Benjamin. Hall began his career with the prestigious architectural firm McKim, Mead and White and is responsible for numerous theatres, including the Eastman in Rochester, N.Y., the Metropolitan in Houston, Texas and the Keith's Georgia in Atlanta, Ga. Benjamin, whose local firm was the forerunner of KBJ Architects, built several theatres throughout the South, many of which are now considered historic landmarks.

The Florida Theatre displays many characteristics of the Mediterranean Revival, one of the most prominent architectural styles associated with Florida’s building boom during the 1920s. While designing the Florida Theatre, the architects envisioned a Moorish courtyard at night, resplendent with glittering stars, grand balconies and fountains. An ornate proscenium arch that reaches nearly six stories high dominates the auditorium. The incredible acoustics and near-perfect sight lines make every one of the theatre’s 1,900 seats exceptional. On the building’s original roof garden, patrons in the late 1920s danced under the stars, while the theatre provided a nursery for the patrons’ young children. The theatre boasted many features unique in the 1920s, including central heating, air-conditioning and vacuuming systems.

Like many theatres of its day, the Florida Theatre was designed for both stage shows and motion pictures. A typical evening at the Florida Theatre included six program elements—the news, a comedy short, a cartoon or travelogue, an overture by the band on its moveable orchestra pit (with an occasional sing-along), a live stage presentation and the feature film. Unfortunately, with the advent of talkies and the decline of Vaudeville’s popularity, most of the nation’s great picture palaces became white elephants soon after their heyday.

Thanks to the creative management of Jacksonville’s Guy Kenimer, the Florida Theatre remained active well beyond the Depression, supplementing film screenings with many other forms of entertainment. Although the theatre closed briefly several times, it was saved from bankruptcy by special programs such as "Screeno," a bingo game played on the movie screen, and "Bank Night,” which gave ticket buyers a chance to win cash prizes. The Florida Theatre's management also spurred community involvement with such programs as the Happy Hearts Club, which for almost 20 years provided Christmas toys for underprivileged children.

While preserving both its original Mediterranean design and its listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the theatre provides modern stage equipment to meet the complex technical requirements of today’s artists and performing attractions.

The Florida Theatre has been increasingly progressive in programming over the past several years, emphasizing those artists and artistic disciplines which might not otherwise be available to Jacksonville audiences."
Submission Criteria:

Period Culture
Distinctive or Significant Interest

Website with More Information: [Web Link]

Address of Waymark:
128 East Forsyth Street
Jacksonville, FL USA

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