Friday, January 22, 2016

Orpheum Tour

Thanks to Kay Holcombe for organizing a tour of this 1927 theatre in downtown Phoenix. Seventeen Historical League members thoroughly enjoyed the tour and lunch at historic Tom's Tavern only 1 block away.

Investors spend $750,000 to build it (about $2 million today). Opening in 1929 with Vaudeville, silent films and celebrities including Mae West, Ziegfield follies and more, the theatre soon turned to talking films. With cooled air and fabulous murals,  it was a very popular place to be.

Gold inlaid peacock ceiling
Ruth McLeod and tour
organizer Kay Holcombe
ready to tour
After many changes of ownership over the years, the city of Phoenix owned it in 1985 and planned to bull doze it for a parking lot. Thankfully, the Junior League organized an effort to save it appealing to Mayor Terry Goddard. A Bond issue raised $7 million with matching corporate and private funds of another $7.5 million.
Ornate spiral staircase with peacock ceiling

Tour guide explaining concrete
beams made to look like wood

Looking up at towards the peacock ceiling

Susie Brinegar in "kissing room" or
Room of Young Moderns

Plaster carvings created by same Italian
craftsman that built Tovrea Castle
Lunch at Tom's Tavern was delicious