Magnet-ic Images of Fairhope’s Theater

I had a fantastic meeting with the grandson of Judge Edward P. Totten, the man who brought the moving pictures to Fairhope. Parker Gray has an incredible collection of the Magnet Theater. Here are the original “blueprints” for the building, some photos during construction, and a handbill to promote the showing of the 1920 silent movie, So Long Letty. Unless credited otherwise, all images courtesy of Parker Gray.

Magnet Theater, circa 2007. At the time it was home to Papa’s Pizza and Fairhope Trophy. Photograph by Alan Samry
Floor plans for the “Hollow Tile Moving Picture Theater to be Built at Fairhope, ALA for Mr. Edward Totten. J. Platt Roberts ARCHT Mobile, ALA, 6.6.24. Job # 115.”
Sheet 2 includes the elevations. The upper drawing shows the South Church Street (west) elevation and the bottom shows the Fairhope Avenue (north) elevation.
What a fantastic snapshot of the theater under construction! Man in the foreground is the mixer and the tile layers are in the background. Any ideas whose house that is in the background? It’s the northeast corner of De La Mare and South Church Street. Legend says it might be the Berglin house, which was relocated for the construction of the theater.
It looks like “the walls are leaning” reads the handwritten note on the back of the photograph. A roof truss is leaning on the back wall.
Tile layed, the building awaits windows and doors. Notice the extra Clay City Tile stacked up by the power pole left of center.
The Magnet Theater shortly after its’ completion. Teeth, a silent 1924 American western film, is showing. Photograph courtesy of Fairhope Museum of History.
Teeth movie still in the Public Domain. By Fox Film Corporation – Moving Picture World (Nov. – Dec. 1924), on the Internet Archive.
Magnet Theater schedule from the 1920s featuring So Long Letty, a 1920 silent picture.

All the films on the schedule are silent pictures. Youthful Folly (1920), The Silver Horde, (1920), The Miracle Man, (1919), It pays to Advertise (1919), The Market of Souls (1919), The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (1920), Life’s Twist (1920), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917).

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