History Society Hosts “Casablanca”-Themed Night

Wouldn’t you like to spend an evening at the Café Américain from the 1940s film “Casablanca”?

The Phi Alpha Theta society got to live that dream March 5 when they held a “Casablanca”-themed night at the Bedford Alum Springs Hotel. 

The costumed event included free food, games, tours and much more, including repeated showings of the film.

The night took attendees back almost 100 years with nearly every guest arriving in period-appropriate costume. The Bedford Alum Springs hotel building itself set the mood for the party — its historic age and colonial architecture made it a thematic and appropriate location. 

Tours throughout the building explored the hotel’s rich, 150-year history with new discoveries about the building still happening as recently as 2019. Phi Alpha Theta procured the former hotel in late 2018 thanks to Liberty’s Public History Initiatives, which work to ensure that historical landmarks like the hotel aren’t lost to time. 

“With this being projected as the highest attended event in the history of our chapter, I just hope we can continue to inspire and encourage students to participate in history,” Stephanie Wright, chapter president of Phi Alpha Theta, said.

It’s no mystery why Phi Alpha Theta jumped at the opportunity to hold an event commemorating the memory of “Casablanca.” The historic film oozes with distinct noir style as  Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, confronts his past when his old flame Isla Lund, played by Ingred Bergman, shows up in his Café Américain. 

Phi Alpha Theta is a society of life-long members who share a love for history and commemorating famous past events. 

Events include theme nights, workdays at historic sites, assisting with Operation Christmas Child and many other ways to help the community. 

Member Renee Thiele described the people as the best part of Phi Alpha Theta. 

“They are such a great community and such a great family,” Thiele said. “Phi Alpha Theta was really what helped me find friends and find people who were passionate about history.”

For more information about upcoming Phi Alpha Theta events or about the club in general, students can visit www.liberty.edu/arts-sciences/history/phi-alpha-theta-honor-society/.   

Engel  is a feature reporter.

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