Harlem officials are hoping to repeat history.
The Columbia Theatre, Columbia County's only cinema when it opened in 1949, showed numerous movies during its heyday, which lasted about two decades.
The marquee, a re-creation of the original, once again will glow with pink and yellow neon lights during a lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday.
"We think it's cool," said Harlem Mayor Bobby Culpepper. "In our little town, it adds a lot of neat color."
The public is invited to attend the ceremony. "It is just a get-together to kind of relish (the past) and enjoy thoughts of the future," Culpepper said.
The marquee, which was delivered in three large pieces, was installed last month and is part of exterior renovations to the theater.
The facade renovations also included new doors and windows and exterior paint. The $69,500 project was partially funded by a $40,000 state grant, with the remainder of the money coming from the Harlem Foundation.
The theater, owned and run by Bill and Nan Griffin, closed in the mid-1960s, when the popularity of television and competition from new theaters in the Augusta area began to grow.
The building housed many businesses since then and has been vacant for several years. The Harlem Foundation purchased it in 2005 with the intent of transforming the former theater into an arts center.
The facade improvement is the first project, other than cleaning out the building.
The project architect recommended a larger stage capable of holding two simultaneous productions, and redoing the flooring and theater seating.
"Our plan is once we've turned it on, the marquee will be set to come on every night on a timer," Culpepper said. "It'll light up that area of town and remind people of what we're working toward."
IF YOU GO
What: Columbia Theatre marquee lighting
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: The theater on North Louisville Street in downtown Harlem
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