Norman Studios in Arlington is going to be nominated next week in Washington D.C. to become a National Landmark. Jacksonville historian and Norman Studios Spokeswoman Rita Reagan made an appearance on WJCT’s “First Coast Connect” on Thursday to share the history of the studio and what people can do to help the cause.
Reagan says the historic movie studio in Arlington was founded during the Jacksonville’s “Gilded Age” of silent films as Eagle Film Studios. She says Richard Norman moved back to Jacksonville and bought the studio in 1920. Norman starting making "race films" where African Americans were cast as the heroes of the story which Reagan says “were an antidote to the awful, stereotypical, racist types of films” that were being produced at the time.
The studio’s only surviving film, “The Flying Ace” has been preserved by the Library of Congress for its cultural significance.
Reagan says the process to become a National Landmark began over 20 years ago when an Arlington resident found the property in disrepair in the 1990s. She says the woman, Ann Burt, recruited her friends and helped form a nonprofit to save and preserve the property. After lobbying the city for years, the city finally purchased the property in the early 2000s.
The studio is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but Reagan says becoming a National Landmark will help the studio to be preserved for future generations.
Reagan says the studio needs support letters sent to the National Park Service to help ensure the studio is designated a National Landmark.