Palace Theater Restoration
CHILDRESS, TX — The Palace Theater was built in 1925 by partners F.M. Phipps and G.S. Layton, one of six theaters to eventually be operated by the partnership and their extended families. The cinematic dynasty in this small west Texas town began when Phipps and an earlier partner puchased the LaGrande Opera House in 1911 and built the Monogram Theater. 1988 saw the end of over three-quarters century of Hollywood on the silver screen in Childress when nephews of Mrs. Phipps closed the Palace doors. The Palace rose from the ashes of two fires, in 1934 and again in 1935. Gene Autry and other cowboy stars performed on her stage, as well as did children of the community, participating in decades of the “Birthday Club” on Saturday mornings.
Childress Theatre Company, a 501©3 corporation, has launched the Palace Restoration Project with plans to restore the Palace to her original Art Deco glory. Costs are estimated to be approximately $2 million. When completed, the Palace, with new sound, projection and lighting systems, will show classic films as well as films for children on Saturday mornings as the “Birthday Club” is revived. She will serve as a cultural center in downtown Childress for citizens of the community and the surrounding area with facilities for live dramatic and musical productions.
Grant applications have begun, and the group is sponsoring a drawing for a restored 1957 Chevy. Tickets are available for a $100 donation per ticket with only 1,200 tickets available. The drawing will be held on or before December 31, 2008. Other fund raisers include theatrical productions and an annual bicycle ride, Tour d' Cotton.