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Removed & Forgotten: Sottile Theatre's 1927 Decorative Elements Rediscovered

April 24, 2018

 

On Monday, April 23, 2018, BVL Historic Preservation Research was called on site as Director of Operations Anja Kelly discovered portions of the Sottile Theatre’s original 1927 interior wall décor stored in bubble wrap in the theater’s basement. These elements were most likely taken down during a renovation decades ago, packaged and forgotten…until now. The above video follows as we unveil the forgotten elements for the first time since their removal.

 

When Albert Sottile completed construction of the Gloria Theatre, now known as College of Charleston's Sottile Theatre, in 1927, local newspapers described its interior as "on par with the finest theaters in the south." Inspired by Italian classicism, Sottile adorned his theater with replicas of famous statuaries and reliefs found in Rome and Florence and paintings that captured ancient Roman mythology. Here are a few historic images of the incredible interior when the theater first opened. Unfortunately, many of these original elements were covered, removed or lost during renovations in the mid and late twentieth century to modernize the theater.

 

The discovery of these reliefs comes sevens years after the College of Charleston discovered the theater’s original murals done by Italian artists from Manhattan beneath sound boards added to the theatre in the mid century.

 

The history of the Sottile Theatre is described in more detail here.

 

Here's to hoping the Sottile Theatre can secure the funds to not only restore these amazing 1927 elements, but also display them in the way they were intended, for all to see. We live for moments like this!!!

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