Old Dominion
Theatre Organ Society
Carpenter Theatre
That wonderful era of
atmospheric theatre
architecture was, as
historians read it, just a
blink in the eye of time.

John Eberson, the most
noteworthy creator of the
atmospheric theatre,
designed an incredible
monument for Loew's in the
city of monuments,
Richmond.  The theatre
opened on April 9, 1928
with Wild Oscar at the
console of the 3/13
Wurlitzer.

The stars twinkled, the
clouds floated across a
darkened sky, and the
audience was carried away
on a dreamlike journey.  
The stars that twinkled on
the ceiling were laid out by
the architect's son, Drew
Eberson, to resemble the
sky over Richmond in
January 1928.  The citizens
of Richmond were justifiably
proud of their cinema
palace.

Eddie Weaver became a
state-wide institution,
holding forth at Loew's from
1936 to 1961. After he left
for the Byrd Theatre, the
organ went silent, but was
revived in 1964 by theatre
organ fan Nick Pitt who
continued to entertain
audiences for the next
seven years.

The theater was closed in
the early 1970's and the
organ fell into disuse. In
1975, the organ was
disassembled and donated
to the Kennedy Center in
Washington. It was placed
in storage in a Maryland
warehouse.
Carpenter Theatre Wurlitzer 3/13
Carpenter Theatre
(Formerly Loew's)
Richmond, VA
Wurlitzer 3/13
Photo - Ray Brubacher
The Kennedy Center did
not have organ chambers
and sold the organ a few
years later to a Texas
doctor.  It was moved to
Texas by Jim Peterson
where some parts were
removed and the
remainder sent to a
warehouse in Tennessee.

In 1983, the new owners
of the Loew's Theater,
then the Virginia Center
for the Performing Arts,
later renamed the
Carpenter Center,
decided the renovation of
the theatre would not be
complete without an organ.

Nick Pitt, Fred Berger, and
John Johnson, with help
from others, began
rebuilding the New Jersey
Surf City Hotel Wurlitzer
obtained by Bill Floyd
former organist at the
Paramount Theatre in
New York City.

For five years, the
volunteers worked nearly
every night repairing the
organ when a telephone
call changed everything.  
The original Loew's organ
was available though in
very bad condition.

The organ was brought
back to Richmond.  A
group of Carpenter
Center supporters, the
Muses, raised funds and
the Carpenter Center
agreed to assist the
volunteers in the
renovation.

By early 1992, the organ
was ready.  On April 5,
1992, Eddie Weaver
played the first concert on
this beautiful instrument
that had finally returned to
its original location.
Note:  Portions of text
are from the 17th annual
ATOS National
Convention held in
Virginia July 1972.
A Chapter of the American Theatre Organ Society
Commonwealth of Virginia - The Old Dominion
Harold Warner, Jr. - Mosque / Landmark / Altria Theatre
Events
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