By Hal Doby
Originally written, March 1996, last revision: January 17, 2017
For almost 88 years, the Fox theatre in Atlanta has stood out as one of the architectural gems of the United States. During its life, it has been a testament its architect that the integrity of their original design has stood the test of time. While the auditorium operated mainly as a movie theatre since its opening in 1929, the building was not designed specifically to be a movie palace. Instead, it was built to be the headquarters, or as they call it: a Mosque, for the local Shriner's group, the Yaarab Temple.
The history of the Atlanta Fox is very complex. It is comprised of many unforeseen event and plot twists worthy of the epic movies that once graced its silver screen. A lot of the Fox's history was usurped by myth, legend, and promotional hype that over the years has been widely accepted as absolute fact. To my knowledge, this site is the only full account that comes close to the actual truth and full story of the history of Atlanta's most beloved building. .This account took decades to put together, starting back in 1976 when I first volunteered to do restoration work at the Fox Theatre. I have interviewed many people and looked at many news reports in local and nationals publications. Some of the people I have talked about the Fox includes Rick Flinn, the Fox's first Restoration Director, John McCall of the Atlanta Chapter, American Theater Orgran Society who wrote one of the first informational books about the Fox, and none other than Joe G. Patten, the legendary "Phantom of the Fox". I had the priviledge to be a frienf of Joe's and we talked about the Fox right up to his passing in 2016.
Because of the complexity of our story, I have divided this tale into five distinct section to make it more easy to digest and work through a bit at a time.
The Begining and Construction 1872 to 1929
The Early Years and Chaos 1930-1935
The Dark Days 1970-1979
Rebirth 1980 - to Present Day