Walking on East Congress Street, through Reynolds Square, you will come across one of the most iconic images in Savannah, the marquee of the Lucas Theatre.
The theatre, named after Co-Owner Arthur Lucas, opened in December 1921. It showed silent movies and featured the best vaudeville performers of the early 20th century.
In 1923, the Lucas Theatre became the first building in Savannah to install air conditioning. This was a welcome relief from the brutal summers in the Low Country, and businessmen flocked to the theatre during their lunch breaks to watch a silent film or take a nap.
When television started to trickle into every home, the Lucas Theatre began to see a decline in popularity. The theatre struggled to bring in audiences and eventually shut down in 1976. Thirteen years later, the theatre was set to be torn down; however, a group called The Lucas Theatre for the Arts bought and renovated the building.
In 1997, the cast and crew of ‘Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil’ held the movie’s wrap up party at the theatre. Ticket proceeds went towards the cost of restoring The Lucas Theatre. Kevin Spacey, the star of the film, donated $200,000 to the fund.
The Lucas Theatre reopened in December 2000 and featured a sold out showing of “Gone with the Wind,” with 1,237 people paying to see the classic film.
In 2002, it was donated to the Savannah College of Art and Design who incorporated the theatre into their dramatic arts program.
Today, the theatre is still open featuring plays, classic and cult favorite movies, comedy, and other live stage shows. Fans of Will Ferrell movies often gather at the Lucas Theatre for Will Ferrell Wednesdays where a movie of the former Saturday Night Live is played every Wednesday. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and Stepbrothers are two of the most popular films you can see at the Lucas Theatre on select Wednesdays.
The theatre is also open for tours. However, these arts are not the only thing to see at The Lucas Theatre; spirits are said to be haunting it as well. According to locals strange things happen at the Lucas Theatre. You can visit it and other locations around Reynolds Square in the Scary Savannah Ghost Map app.