Restored Chandelier Plays Starring Role at the Saenger
The Saenger Theater in Mobile, Alabama, opened in 1927 and was glorified as “Alabama’s Greatest Showplace.” Over the years, the Saenger provided the area with amazing theatrical entertainments, but in early 1970 was closed by its owners, ABC/Paramount, and was stripped of its production equipment. Soon before it was set to be demolished, the University of South Alabama stepped in and saved the historic landmark from destruction.
Today the Saenger Theatre is a historic landmark, treasured for its architectural beauty, originally designed to resemble a European opera house. Playing a starring role, the massive crystal chandelier that graced the theater since it was built in the 1920s has been lovingly restored by Grand Light, an experienced restorer of historic lighting fixtures and a manufacturer of custom lighting fixtures.
The chandelier is a large ring measuring approx 10 feet in diameter with a center shaft approximately 8 feet tall. At the bottom of the large ring are three steel frames with more than 10,000 faceted crystal beads on graduated chains. The chandelier had to undergo a complete restoration of its mechanical structure, electrical wiring, and surface finishes, as well as re-weaving the crystal strands.
Grand Light disassembled the chandelier and transported it to the restoration facility in New Haven, Connecticut, where the fixture was restored and rewired. Read more information about this project including additional detail photos, on the Grand Light project page
In 1999, the City of Mobile, Alabama purchased the Saenger from the University of South Alabama and a non-profit organization, called the Center for the Living Arts, was created. With donations from the community, the organization restored and now operates the historic Mobile Saenger.
The renovation of the Saenger Theatre has transformed a historical landmark into a modern, dynamic performing arts and entertainment center for the entire community. Today, with its newly renovated and upgraded electrical system, VIP facilities, stage rigging and state of the art sound system, the 1,921-seat Saenger Theatre truly lives up to its reputation as “Alabama’s greatest showplace.” It is now a multi-disciplinary arts center, home of the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, Alabama Contemporary Dance Company, the Movie Series, as well as various concerts, dance performances, lectures, and special events.
The large chandelier as the mid section is dismantled.
Removal of the internal lighting cluster in preparation of cleaning and rewiring. Each lighting cluster arms required removal with high heat to soften the original thread hardener.
Each of the three large crystal baskets are being re-weaved as a precautionary measure over the existing weaving with 22 gauge stainless steel wire.
The chandelier after the completion of the restoration. (red box shows the before picture)