HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A giant staple in downtown Huntsville that once had visitors put on their dancing shoes is no longer playing North Alabama tunes.
Instead, it’s in storage for the time being but it’s owner is looking to bring the music back to life.
The jukebox is on the corner of Cleveland Ave. and Meridian St., attached to the side of AM Booth’s Lumberyard and Sound Cell Recording Studios in downtown.
Standing at 20 feet tall, the giant jukebox was a passion project for Doug Smith. He says originally, the jukebox was a facade on the Pride Enterprises building that people could walk through, but after a fire in 2013, he made a deal with the owners.
“So I went down there with ladders and sawzalls and basically sawed the jukebox off the front of the building before they demolished it,” said Smith.
The rest is history. Smith said he got notice of a Shark Tank project happening in downtown. He submitted his idea, won the contest and $1000, and put up the working jukebox in 2017.
“Got it up and it became on the National Roadside Attractions and we just started having a great time with people coming by and dancing on the sidewalk, noon or night,” said Smith.
To those enjoying the music, the jukebox was like magic. Songs played as soon as someone walked, or danced, by.
“Basically plays by a photocell. It picks up infrared body heat so if you walk by it, it would play a song from a recording made here in North Alabama,” said Smith.
During the Spring of 2019, the jukebox played it’s last note.
“A microburst came in with damaging winds and hit the entire side of Park Place Plaza, blowing out all of the awnings… doing thousands and thousands of dollars of damage,” said Smith.
The jukebox was dismantled a short time later to repair the damages.
For over a year now, Smith has been working on restoration, but because of COVID-19, all the funds have been drained.
“We have put out word through our network looking for more instruments to create the new cornucopia sculpture,” said Smith. “I am dying for a tuba if anybody out there has a tuba they don’t use anymore!”
Now is your opportunity to help them find the right note and bring back the music.
Smith says they haven’t gone to GoFundMe to raise funds because he understands everyone is going through hardship right now, but he is asking for any instrument donations you can manage.
If you would like to donate to the cornucopia sculpture on the World’s Largest Working Jukebox, you can email Doug@soundcell.com.