S 78 BIRMINGHAM
PO Box 10251
Birmingham, AL 35202
1901 10th Ave. South, Room 114
Birmingham, AL 35205
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
President: Terry L. Wilkins
Vice President: Marshal Croy
Business Agent: Allen Langston
Assistant Business Agent: Wayne Whaley
Treasurer: Sam Williams
Recording/Corresponding Secretary: J. Terry Wilkins
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Chairman of the Board: Billy Howell
Member of the Board: Glenn Walls
Member of the Board: Paul Schatz
Gold Card Members: 0
Retired Members: 0
Active Members: 51
Journeymen Members: 41
Birmingham, Alabama, called the Steel City of the South, was founded in 1871 because of the adjacent wealth of minerals needed for making steel. The new community was named after England's iron center.
In the early years, Birmingham was noted as being one of the major cities of the New South. It was known as a city of steel and related industries, but also as a city of culture, politics, baseball, football, and vibrant social activities.
In a growing city such a Birmingham, the increased desire for cultural events and social activities was more than the local civic center could handle, resulting in a cultural boom in 1900 for the performing arts. There was vaudeville with comedians, magicians, jugglers, song-and-dance teams, animal acts, ventriloquists, talent contests, barber shop quartets, beauty contests, waltzing contests, boxing, wrestling, ragtime piano contests, and all types of local entertainment.
Some of the theatres in Birmingham from 1900 to 1910 were the Gayety, the Bijou, the Pantages, the Majestic, the Jefferson, O'Brien's House, the Erlanger, Sublett Hall, and the Casino.
Following the stage-type theatres were "silent movie houses." Soon afterward, the new "moving picture houses" arrived. In the 1908 city directory, the movie houses listed were the Electric, the Theatorium, the Edisonia, the Elite, the Musetorium, the Newsome, the St. Nichols, the Vaudette, the Alamo, and the Marvel.
As the city grew and the entertainment industry changed, many of the old theatres were converted or torn down. The names of some of the theatres built in th 1920's and 1930's were the Temple, the Lyric, the Alabama, the Ritz, the Melba, the Empire, the Strand, and the Famous.
The Alabama Theatre has been beautifully restored and features special movies as well as stage productions.
There are also dreams of restoring the Lyric Theatre, which is located across the street from the Alabama Theatre. It is still standing and is currently empty with the exception of some old seats and scenery flats.
The Temple Theatre housed the Masonic Lodge and was a "working hemp house" until it had it's last performance on March 31, 1970. But, that's another story we'll add to the site in the future.
All but a few of the one-time busy theatres have gone the way of so many old buildings.
In 1924, the City of Birmingham built a new modern Municipal Auditorium. To this day, it is still being used and has been renovated many times.
In 1973, with city and county money, a new complex was completed with 2 theatres, a coliseum, and an exhibition facility. Additional exhibition facilities, facilities for medical forums, and a hotel have since been added to the complex. There is also rumor of a dome stadium in the future.
In 1899, a small group of men in Birmingham, Alabama looked into the future and petitioned the National Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees for membership. The charter for Local 78 was granted on November 7, 1900.
Those listed on the charter are:
Today, most of Local 78's work is at the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center Complex and the Boutwell Auditorium. However, additional work can be found at the Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, the University of Alabama at Birmingham, the Alabama Theatre, and other venues.Nate D. Smith
Wm. K. Hammer
Wm. M. Johnson
Walter W. Beason
D. A. Knolton(?)
George D. Whitney
Ely L. Beaver(?)
David A. Polk
Jas. H Gobin(?)
Wm. H. Miller
Lee H. Freeman
Chas. H. Prince