From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Theater in Neo Art Deco Style

Life in Christian County, Kentucky... History and Old Stuff...



Theater in Clarksville, TNI took Isaac and his friend to the Great Escape Theater in Clarksville, TN, yesterday. I didn't go to the movie ("Pirates of the Carribean 2," or whatever it is), but I did enjoy looking at the building.

I can't identify many styles of architecture, but I do recognize art deco, and the Great Escape definitely pays homage to the style. Note the stylized geometric shapes, sharp lines, and bold contrasting colors. Even the the Broadway font on the marquee is Art Deco. Doesn't the building remind you a little of an old-time jukebox?

Theater lobby

Inside the theater's lobby, the same font is used throughout. Bold lines accent the walls, and some of the floor is tiled in geometric patterns. The photo's colors look a little dingy, but that's due to the inability of the flash to illuminate the large area.

An example of vintage Art Deco architecture, the Century Hotel on Miami Beach, appears below. Notice how lines and circles are used to decorate the exterior of the building.

Century Hotel, Miami, Florida Photograph by Walter Smalling, Jr., March 1980. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey or Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number HABS, FL, 13-MIAM, 16-1

One of the most glorious examples of Art Deco architecture is the Chrysler Building in New York City. The Empire State Building (also in New York City) is another well-known building with strong elements of Art Deco style. Both these buildings have the classic Art Deco "stepped" profile that the Great Escape Theater imitates in a broader and much closer-to-earth style.

The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is another famous American structure with some Art Deco details.

The Rock County Courthouse in Bassett, Nebraska (my childhood hometown) was also an example of Art Deco style. It is now listed on the National Historic Register.

Related sites:
Art Deco Architecture: History
Miami Design Preservation League
Art Deco Furniture, Antiques, Jewelry, and Interior Designers

Only vaguely related:
While searching for a photo of the Rock County Courthouse, I came across a list of Rock County officials, and realized that I used to know several of them. My, how we have all grown up.

UPDATE: Please see the post Rock County (Nebraska) Courthouse which includes an image from a different angle than the photo in the link above.

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2 comments:

KennethF said...

Hey Gene:
Those first two photos... very sharp & framed most excellent! Did you get a new camera?
Thanks for the visit and all the nice comments. Your work continues to amaze & delight__ Truly, Ken

Genevieve said...

Thanks, Ken. I wouldn't mind having a new camera, but no, it's the same humble little Kodak.

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