TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WSAV) — The Tybee Post Theater has come a long way since it was established in 1930.
It functioned as the center for entertainment for soldiers and their families until the army was decommissioned in 1947. The buildings on the base were converted into homes but the original theater remained.
The Fort Screven Theater turned into the Beach Theater, which is owned by the same people as the Lucas Theatre For the Arts in downtown Savannah.
Once the multiplex theater was invented in the ‘60s, many single-screen theaters went out of business. Around that same time, the Beach Theater was abandoned for decades to come.
In 2000, a developer applied for a demolition permit and was going to tear it down to build condos just like the ones on either side of the building now.
Instead, he called the city and got in touch with Shirley Sessions, the current Mayor of Tybee Island.
“And he said, ‘Don’t you think the city can do something to save this historic treasure?’ And Shirley jumped into action as she does,” Tybee Post Theater Executive Director Melissa Turner said.
The Tybee Historical Society purchased the building and formed the nonprofit Friends of the Tybee Theater, which eventually restored the building.
“It was a mess. There had been a fire in here. Half the roof was gone. There were no seats, no stage, no nothing,” Turner said.
They were able to open the theater in September of 2015.
“It is now a Tybee treasure. It really is. It has been so embraced by the community. The environment is so great because it’s that old, historic movie theater environment,” Turner said.
“It feels like it. You can get a moon pie and a glass of wine at the concession stand,” she added. “I mean it’s just a really unique experience. And just seeing everyone take part in it together is what’s really gratifying.”