BREWTON, Ala. (WKRG) — A unique piece of Brewton history sits at the major highway intersection in town. A tall movie theatre entrance that dates back to the 1930s is rich with American History.

The building sits at the corner of HWY 41 and 31. The large marquee Brewton and electronic screen serve as a messaging center for the town and a great backdrop for photos.

“It’s a great place for us to put out announcements of what’s coming, upcoming events or things that the public might need to know or be aware of,” said Connie Baggett, director of program management. “But it’s an iconic part of our town now and has a lot of geofences on social media.”

The Ritz movie theatre from the 1930s was prone to flooding, first sitting in the now Jennings Park location in town. Baggett said after a major rain, rows of seats would be underwater.

“Back about the mid to late 80s, they tore down a lot of buildings that were down here in the floodway and the flood zone and created park space,” said Baggett.

The historical sign sitting in the marquee’s shadow reads as follows:

“Ritz Theatre opened its doors on this site September 14, 1936, and for more than fifty (50)years prided itself as the” Hub of the Brewton Community.” Between its first feature, “YOURS FOR THE ASKING,” and its last, “CROCODILE DUNDEE,” shown January 22, 1987, the Ritz served as stage for fashion shows, beauty pageants, dances, and various other community events. Stars of the”Grand Ole Opry” and “Hollywood” made live appearances at the Ritz. The Ritz was the community’s prime source of reliable news from the battle-front during World War II. With a seating capacity for 761, the Ritz was the place to be on Saturday afternoon for generations of children. This legacy of the Ritz Theatre has been perpetuated with the construction of this community message center in March 1996.”

The ten-foot-wide electrical box is not an entrance to an underground theater, despite the rumors. Baggett said the sign project keeps the past of Brewton connected with its future.

“There’s so much of our past that disappears on a daily basis, but if any way that you can save a little bit just for future generations to know what it was or have a touchstone back to the history of your area, it’s always worth the investment,” said Baggett.

The cant-be-missed landmark serves an unexpected role, directions.

“The message center is something everybody sees. Everybody knows where it is, so it’s good to give directions,” said Baggett. “Go take a right by the message center and everybody knows exactly what you’re talking about.”

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