Posted on Fri, Jan. 09, 2004
Carolina Theatre's best hope
Arts & Science Council offers realistic plan to save a bit of history
From Thomas A. Dorsey, president of Historic Charlotte Inc.,
responding to The Observer's Dec. 9 story, "Council looks at fate of
The debate over the future of the Carolina Theatre goes on, while the
structure itself continues to suffer from decades of neglect. Decay
is an enemy of those who would like to see the property restored to
its 1927 grandeur, as well as to those anxious to move ahead with an
The building has historical significance for Charlotte. It is the
last remaining of the once many movie palaces, and it was designed by
the architectural firm of Hook and Sawyer. Its exterior retains much
of the integrity of the original design, although much of the Tryon
Street entrance has been demolished. (Only the façade remains.)
Some argue that the theater should be restored. However, there is
neither funding to support this vision nor consensus of opinion
regarding the future use of a restored Carolina Theatre.
The Arts & Science Council, on the other hand, would preserve the key
elements of structure and convert it to a more public use. They
appear to have a vision that is widely supported. And they appear to
have a good handle on both the costs and the financing challenges.
Both positions further Historic Charlotte's objectives, those being
to promote awareness of and appreciation for historic architecture
and historical sites in Charlotte.
The Carolina Theatre closed 25 years ago, on Nov. 27, 1978, and
nature is taking its toll. More buildings are torn down than fall
down. No one is calling in the bulldozers, but if we don't take
action soon, all that will be needed is a shovel.
Let's get behind the Arts & Science Council and give that
organization and its architects the opportunity to complete a plan
for restoring the historic elements of the Carolina Theatre and
returning this important property to public use.