Ga. Theatre reopens with built-in fire remnants

ATLANTA (AP) - The newly renovated Georgia Theatre begins a series of grand opening concerts Monday, with reminders of a devastating 2009 fire still visible in the charred bricks and blackened front doors.

Owner Wilmot Greene says workers saved 300-year-old wood that survived the blaze and used it for the renovations because it adds to the iconic theater's history. He says workers wanted to make sure the building tells a story from the moment visitors walk inside.

The theater's colorful past includes performances by bands like R.E.M., the B-52s and others that began their rise to prominence in Athens.

Wilmot says there are plans to hold a raffle later this year. The items include a guitar that Robbie Smith of Athens built with wood, stained glass, ticket stubs and other remnants.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)