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Friday, July 11, 2014

The Tivoli Theater - Chattanooga, TN

The Tivoli Theater - Chattanooga, TN

The Tivoli Theater is a historic theater and opulent landmark in downtown Chattanooga that opened in 1921 at a cost of $750,000. It was one of the first air-conditioned public buildings in the U.S. The theatre was named Tivoli after Tivoli, Italy, has cream tiles and beige terra-cotta bricks, has a large red, black, and white marquee with 1,000 chaser lights, and has a large black neon sign that displays TIVOLI with still more chaser lights.

Reflecting the Beaux Arts architectural style prevalent in late 19th century and early 20th century America, the theatre contains a high rose-and-gold coffered ceiling, the original box office, a grand lobby with a white terrazzo floor inlaid with forest-green marble and music-motif medallions, crystal chandeliers, an elegant foyer, and red velvet-plush chairs. The Tivoli opened on March 19, 1921 to a concert by the Tivoli Symphony, a screening of Cecil B. DeMille's 1921 film Forbidden Fruit, and a personal appearance by Forbidden Fruit's Mae Murray. The theater served Chattanooga well for several decades as the chief location for stage and film entertainment in Chattanooga, but went into a steady decline as modern movie theaters started to appear in Chattanooga in the 1950's.

The Tivoli was, at one time, owned by the ABC TV network and was later leased to Chattanooga as a performing arts facility. The theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in April 1973. The city of Chattanooga purchased the Tivoli in 1976 for $300,000 after the theater had been in disrepair for some years; Chattanooga's Department of Education, Arts, and Culture currently owns and operates the Tivoli. After the Tivoli closed on June 5, 1987 for renovations, the Tivoli reopened on March 29, 1989 with a recital by Marilyn Horne.

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