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Toccoa's Ritz Theatre

(January 2017) posted on Wed Jan 25, 2017

Historic Georgia theater is re-created


By Darek Johnson

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In 2012, the Fox Theatre Institute selected the Schaefer Center in downtown Toccoa, GA, which includes the Ritz Theatre, for an economic, preservation and design-plan grant. Following this, the City of Toccoa assumed ownership of the facility and also provided funds and grants for extensive restoration of the theater. The Toccoa Ritz was constructed in 1939 as one of Fred T. McLendon’s 36 theaters (including Atlanta’s now restored Buckhead Theatre) spaced across the southeast. Originally a 500-seat movie theater, the Toccoa Ritz later became a part of The Currahee Arts Council and then the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.

On January 28, 2016, the Fox Theatre Institute gave the city another grant to re-create the historic Ritz Theatre marquee, which was dedicated in a lighting ceremony held on August 25, 2016. Presently, non-profit Main Street Toccoa operates the Historic Ritz Theatre at the Schaefer Center. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in October 2015.

Jeff Kendrick’s Commercial Signs (Smyrna, GA) replicated the sign’s original appearance. The new sign’s reader board comprises two 10-mm Intelligent-M brand LED Electronic Message Centers from Optec Displays that will show pre-recorded video, animations and graphics.


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