Restoration of Fox Tucson Coming Along

posted by btkrefft on September 21, 2004 at 8:24 am

TUCSON, AZ — The restoration project to bring the 74 year-old Fox in downtown Tucson back to life after years of neglect is progressing slowly but surely, according to the Tucson Citizen.

With the work on the exterior of the theater nearing completion, including the restoration and relighting of the historic marquee, the work is now beginning on the interior of the Fox. The first phase of the restoration of the inside of the building includes the lobby spaces, the balcony level and the basement.

The project began five years ago, and according to Herb Stratford, the executive director of the Fox Theatre Foundation, “People say, ‘What’s taking so long?’ Well, you don’t just show up at the Home Depot and fix up a national historic landmark. There’s an amazing amount of stuff you have to do.”

Stratford says that once the Fox restoration is complete, it will be an asset to downtown and the Rio Nuevo redevelopment. “I think within six months you’re going to see somes things change downtown, and within five years, you won’t even recognize downtown.”

The Foundation has raised over $6.7 million of the $11 million that it will cost to restore the theater as a high-tech performing arts center that will retain the original Art Deco design. Stratford says the Fox could reopen as early as 2006.

In the meantime, the Fox is hosting an open house on October 9th. For more information on the open house, contact the Fox Theatre Foundation at (520) 624-1515.

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Comments (3)

FoxVolunteerSteve on June 13, 2006 at 11:29 pm

Add Yourself To Our Map, Leave A Photo And A Shoutout, Move To Tucson And Become A Fox Volunteer Usher And Your Life Will Be Perfected!

FoxVolunteerSteve on June 14, 2006 at 10:49 am

The Fox Tucson Theatre had it’s Grand Re-opening on New Year’s Eve 2005. Newspaper article from Arizona Daily Star at ‘Tucson Region’ Section, Article: ‘Reopening Night’ published January 1, 2006.
The Fox was originally built by the Lyric Amusement Company as a Vaudeville and Movie Venue. Southwestern Deco, Pueblo Deco Architecture by Eugene Durfee. Grand opening April 11, 1930 featured the first movie shown at the Fox: “Chasing Rainbows” featuring Jack Benny. Closing Date: June 18, 1974 Grand Re-opening Gala: December 31, 2005, performance by Bruce Hornsby. To be installed Summer 2006: 3,500 pipe Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. Original seating of 1,316 has been reduced to 1,200 to accomodate wider seating, sunken tech booth, and wheelchair access. The Fox has 40,000SQFT with a 40'x24' stage and 15' wings. Combination of JBL Line array sound system and original “Acoustone” auditorium walls create very excellent sound quality and acoustics for amplified performances and filmed entertainment. The restored and newly named ‘First Magnus Auditorium’ also has perfect acoustics for the spoken word and live unamplified performance. This bodes well for the introduction of the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ Summer 2006. Unobstructed sightlines provide perfect views from every seat, and the Balcony Loge Loveseats are probably the most comfortable and romantic best seats in the house of any theatre venue in the world. Progamming at the restored Fox includes live performance (theatre, music, dance). Children’s programming; Cinema, including Film Festivals, Classic Film, locally produced movies, re-releases. Corporate and Community Events, meetings, and fund-raisers available. Public Tours available upon request by contacting Administration Offices. Summer 2006 Classic Movie Series during June, July, and August. Find more information at the Fox Tucson website:

carolpowell on September 25, 2006 at 10:01 am

I’m interested in the history of movie houses in Tucson. Can anyone help?
Family History says that Minnie (Miller) Haas opened the first movie house in Tucson AZ. The first in Tucson was The Lyric “it was the first grind house in Arizona” it was called a grind house because they showed movies over and over again on a daily basis.
The reason I think Minnie was the owner of the Old Pima was because it operated between 1916 and 1920. Minnie and her brother came into some money around that time. Her brother Louis Clair Miller opened a movie house called Kellie’s in Seattle Washington. The AZ chain was operated under the Diamos umbrella or the Diamos Brothers’ Lyric Amusement chain of theatres throughout Southern Arizona, the Fox West Coast theatre chain this some how all ties together

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