New Life For Shoals Marquee

The historic marquee of the the Shoals Theatre in Florence, Ala., was thought to be lost forever, until original drawings, including instructions right down to the exact number of light bulbs and paint color, were found.

The 22-foot-tall sign is now being recreated by Shoals Community Theater Inc., the 720-capacity venue’s owner.

The Shoals Theater marquee was thought to be in storage somewhere. “We researched where it might be, but we lost the trail of it,” said Randy Pettus, president of the group’s board of directors.
Using the original drawings and period photographs from the 1940s and ‘50s, a local sign company drew up a $20,000 estimate to recreate it. The only problem left was figuring out a way to pay for it.
Enter a mystery benefactor.
“The gentleman who donated for this said he remembered standing on the sidewalk as a child and being fascinated by the lights,” General Sign Co. owner Trent Butler said. “He wanted to see them again.”  The donor, who covered the entire cost of the sign, put one condition on his donation: that he never be identified.
Built in 1948 as a movie theatre, the Shoals Theater now is a concert venue and home to local theatrical groups. Among the artists that have performed there are Drive-By Truckers, Jason Isbell And The 400 Unit, Ricky Skaggs and The Civil Wars.