I met Joe once through his love of old cars…he has a few tucked away in a warehouse in West Midtown I believe. This is just great news that he will stay in his apartment at the Fox. ~~Thom Abbott
The “Phantom of the Fox” will continue to live at the Fox Theatre in Midtown.
It was announced Tuesday that Joe Patten — a long-time caretaker and advocate for the Fox — has been granted the right to stay in his apartment at the theatre.
Called the “Phantom of the Fox” by supporters, Patten was threatened with eviction last year by Atlanta Landmarks Inc., which owns and operates the Fox. Patten responded with a lawsuit.
On June 21, it was announced that the lawsuit has been settled. The following statement was released:
Joe Patten, Atlanta Landmarks and Woody White are pleased to announce that they have resolved all of the claims and issues associated with Mr. Patten’s lawsuit and that the lawsuit will be dismissed. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, which are confidential, Mr. Patten will continue to live in the apartment and Atlanta Landmarks will continue to have the right to manage the theatre property.
Patten has lived at the Fox for more than 30 years and has twice saved the theatre from destruction.
From the Facebook page dedicated to Patten:
Joe Patten first came to Fox Theatre in the 1960s as a volunteer, working long hours at his own expense to restore the theatre’s incredible Mighty Mo organ (the second largest theatre organ in the U.S.).
When the theatre was threatened with destruction in the early ’70s, Joe led the campaign to Save the Fox; a massive citywide effort to keep the historic theatre operational for the enjoyment of all of Atlanta and beyond.
Joe has been restoring the Fox as its technical director and caretaker ever since. To reward him for his hard work and to have someone on hand to protect the building who knew its every nook and cranny, Joe was asked to move in! He built his apartment, at his own expense, in an unused part of the building that had once been office and storage space and given a lifetime lease to live there.
In 1996, Joe saved the Fox once again, this time from an early morning fire that threatened to ravage the building.