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David Welling’s Cinema Houston attributes the design of the Almeda Theatre to the firm of MacKie & Kamrath. The Karl Kamrath Collection at the University of Texas, Austin, has one drawing of the Almeda Theatre, but the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library has 13 sheets of plans for the Almeda, attributed to architects Raymond F. Smith of Dallas J. W. Denhart of Houston.
It’s possible that both firms worked on this house. I can’t find anything else about J. W. Denhart. Perhaps he worked in MacKie & Kamrath’s office? Maybe somebody in Texas can check the collections, especially the Interstate Collection, and see if they give any clues.
There are nine sheets of plans for the Wayside Theatre in the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library. The Wayside Theatre was designed by Pettigrew & Worley.
Thirteen sheets of drawings for the Denton Theatre and a house called the Varsity Theatre are preserved in the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library. The plans are by Dallas architect John Rowland Thompson, and are dated c1969. I don’t see a Varsity Theatre listed for Denton at Cinema Treasures. It was located on Hinkle Drive.
Plans for the Village Theatre preserved in the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library were drawn by architects Fooshee & Cheek (Marion Fooshee and James B. Cheek.) The firm designed the Highland Park Village Shopping Center, which was established in 1929 and gradually expanded. Cheek’s friend, artist Reveau Bassett, painted the murals in the Village Theatre. I’m not sure if any of the murals have survived.
Does your browser have a “Find” feature? (I use Opera, and “Find” is in the drop-down menu of the “Edit” section at the top, but other browsers might be different.) If so, you can use it to search any plain text web page (such as this one.) It won’t find text in image formats such as .jpg or .png, or on Flash pages, or PDF files, but if you’ve got “Find” it will speed up searching pages such as the Interstate collection.
The single reference to Dunne is near the bottom of the page, and it says: “Dallas, Texas – Tower Theatre. Conversion of building at Elm St., Pacific and St. Paul. W. Scott Dunne, Arch. (2 sheets) August 10, 1936.”
I don’t think Interstate ever had a theater in Seguin, and that’s why it isn’t mentioned on that page. The collection is probably not exhaustive, though. There could have been quite a bit of stuff that was lost before the heap in the Majestic was salvaged.
If 100 N. Main Street is the correct address for the State Theatre, and if Kingfisher has not altered its numbering system since that address was published, then the theater had to have been at the south end of the block, probably on the parking lot next to what is now Snider’s Catering, which is at 102 N. Main (Royce was probably using “across the street” rather loosely.) Obviously, if that’s where it was then it has been demolished.
Regular members who submit pages for theaters don’t have the ability to alter them once they are posted. The theater editor is Ken Roe, and he makes all the changes.
The Grand Theatre is at 416 N. Oak Avenue, and is for sale.
The records of the Atlantic Terra Cotta Company, held by the University of Texas, show that Fort Worth architect A. B. Withers ordered the terra cotta for the Grand Theatre in Mineral Wells. As the records in the collection span the years 1914 to 1941, Withers had to have been the original architect, probably sometime around 1921 when the Estey organ was installed. I haven’t discovered who designed the streamline modern remodeling in 1948.
The theater was probably at 302 Neville. The first storefront would have been 300 and the storefront on the other side of the theater entrance would have been 304.
The timeline I linked to earlier mentions the first Lyric Theatre that opened on Main Street in 1913. It also mentions the H & M Shoe store at Heber and Neville Streets collapsing in a snowstorm on March 13, 1993. That must have been this theater’s building. The T-shaped intersection has only one other corner, and the building on it is quite old and still standing.
As Dunne died in 1937, before the classic theaters he designed came to be as widely appreciated as they are now, it’s possible that his papers were not preserved. Two pages of plans for the Tower Theatre in Houston are part of the Interstate Theatre Circuit collection at the Dallas Public Library, but I haven’t come across any references to any others that have survived.
Even now there are surprising gaps in the information available about Dunne. The Texas State Historical Association’s online Handbook of Texas has a page for Alfred C. Finn, with whom Dunne collaborated on the design of the Melba Theatre in Dallas in 1921, but there is no page for Dunne himself. He is mentioned on Finn’s page, and that’s it.
Jay C. Henry’s Architecture in Texas: 1895-1945 attributes the design of the Texas Theatre to Dunne, and the book was published by the University of Texas Press, so I would imagine it was well researched. I don’t have the book itself, and none of the libraries in my area have it, but you’d probably be able to find it in a library in Texas. If it is a scholarly book, as it appears to be from the Google Books preview, the author should cite his sources, and the source for his claim that Dunne designed the Texas should be there.
Erle G. Stillwell’s plans for the Carolina Theatre can be seen on this page at DocSouth’s Going to the Show. The Carolina opened on November 23, 1939.
The DocSouth page for the 1930 Carolina Theatre on Tarboro Street doesn’t say anything about Erle Stillwell designing it. He did design the 1939 Carolina Theatre on Goldsboro Street that was later renamed the Colony Theatre.
The recent opening of A. J. Price’s Carolina Theatre, which later became the Drake Theatre, was noted in the June 2, 1930, issue of The Film Daily.
Here is another scan of the same photo, but it can be enlarged for great detail. The negative is dated October 29, 1941.
The Piety Theatre was destroyed by a fire on January 29, 1940. This web page about a building that across the street from the theater has a scan of a newspaper photo of the ruined movie house.
Here is a photo of the Joy Rio Theatre in the 1940s. Although demolished, this house has immortality of a sort. It was the setting for the short story “Mysteries of the Joy Rio Theatre” by Tennessee Williams, first published in 1941. In 1954, Williams published “Hard Candy”, a reworking of the original story, still set in the Rio Theatre.
A book about Oswego County published in 1895 said that the Betts Opera House was built by Dr. James N. Betts in 1883. A partial transcription of the book can be found on this web page.
In May, 1927, F. W. Hohman was operating both the Hohman Opera House in Pulaski and the Allen Opera House in Sandy Creek as movie theaters. They were advertised in the May 5 issue of the Sandy Creek News that year (PDF here.)
The January 10, 1947, issue of The Film Daily said that the new Palace Theatre in Seguin had been opened.
Also interesting: The April 10, 1935, issue of the same publication had a brief notice saying that the New Austin Theatre at Seguin had been opened. It was originally an Inca Amusement Co. house, but a few weeks later there was a notice saying that it had been transferred to East Texas Theatres. We don’t have an Austin Theatre currently listed for Seguin at Cinema Treasures.
It was not unusual for busy firms such as Dunne’s to have a local architect act as supervisor for the construction of a theater that was located any great distance from the firm’s office, so it is possible that Dunne designed the Texas and Eickenroht was the supervising architect. However, I’ve found no period sources naming either Dunne or Eickenroht in connection with the Texas Theatre.
Eickenroht filled out questionnaires for the AIA in 1946 and 1953 (PDF here.) Only the 1946 questionnaire mentions a theater, and that is the San Pedro Playhouse in San Antonio, which was, and is, a legitimate house.
I don’t know if Dunne’s papers have been preserved. If they have been, I haven’t found their location.
There is a possibility, though slim, that the Texas was written up in Boxoffice around the time of its construction, and the architect might have been named in the article, but unfortunately the magazine has blocked search engines from its archive, so the only way to find out would be to go through the issues from that period one by one. Only a small percentage of theaters ever got articles in the magazine, though, and a large percentage of of those that did were major houses.
I’ve seen a couple of sources saying that Folley remodeled the Temple Theatre in 1938. That’s certainly possible. It’s also possible that Folley was working in one of Ketcham’s offices in 1939 (Ketcham’s main office was in Syracuse, but he had a branch office in Utica) and that he was given the task of designing the Kallet.
But one source I found indicated that Foley was 82 years old in 1998, which would have made him about 23 in 1939. That would not have prevented him from designing a major project at that time, but it makes it less likely that he did. That’s the age at which most architects are serving as draftsmen in someone else’s firm, not designing buildings on their own.
Neither have I found any sources saying that there was any connection between Ketcham and Folley. Unless a period source turns up identifying Folley as the architect of this theater, I’m still inclined to accept the known period sources naming Ketcham as the architect of the 1939 project. A 1986 newspaper article- almost fifty years after the Kallet Theatre was built- just isn’t enough.
The conflation of the 1908 Hohman Opera House and the Temple Theatre, built next door to the Hohman in 1925, appears to be of fairly recent origin. I’ve found no instance of it on the Internet from earlier than 2008.
In any case, This PDF of the February 6, 1939, issue of the Oswego Palladium-Times should clear up the confusion. An article headed “Theater Chain Obtains Second Pulaski Block” says that Kallet had bought the site of the Hohman Opera House/Pulaski Theatre (which had burned in 1934) adjacent to the site of their recently burned Temple Theatre. These were definitely two different buildings. The Kallet Theatre built in 1939 apparently occupied the site of the Temple Theatre (1925-1939) and part of the site of the Hohman Opera House Block (1908-1934.)
I should clarify my previous comment by saying that the confusion over the date of the Kallet Theatre’s construction probably stemmed from the fact that it occupied the sites of two burned theaters, one of which, the former Hohman Opera House, which apparently operated as a movie house called the Pulaski Theatre during its last years, did burn down in 1934. The Temple burned in 1939 and the Kallet, a bit wider than the Temple, was built on the site of the Temple and partly on the site of the Hohman.
This PDF of the February 8, 1939, issue of Oswego Palladium-Tmes has an article about Kallet’s purchase of the Hohman Block/Pulaski Theatre site adjacent to the Temple Theatre. The Hohman Block and the Temple Theater were not the same building. George Ketcham is once again mentioned as the architect who was designing the new theater. All the sources online attributing the design to Milo Folley are fairly recent (2008 or later), and give 1938 as the year he designed it. I’ll trust the period sources that say George Ketcham designed it in 1939.
The report of the fire that destroyed the Temple Theatre in the Oswego Palladium-Times of January 23, 1939, said: “M. J. Kallet of Oneida, head of the Kallet chain of theaters, and architect George Ketcham of Utica arrived in Pulaski Monday noon to look over the ruins.”
The February 9 issue of the same publication also mentioned Ketcham, saying that he was preparing the plans for the new theater, though this item gave the location of his office as Syracuse. That article also noted that Kallet had purchased the lot adjacent to the Temple Theatre, and that the new house would probably have a parking lot on one of the lots. The adjacent lot had been the site of the Hohman Opera House, which had itself burned down some years before.
Cezar Del Valle attributes the design of the Astor Theatre in Attica, New York, to George Ketcham, too. See the caption to this photo at Flickr.
The destruction of the Temple Theatre and Odd Fellows Temple at Pulaski by fire was reported in several regional newspapers. The January 23, 1939, editions of the Troy Times Record, the Schenectady Gazette, and The Saratogian of Saratoga Springs all carried brief items about the event, but the most extensive article was in the Oswego Palladium-Times (PDF here)
All the articles mentioned that the theater was in the IOOF Temple building. The April 15 and May 27 issue of The American Contractor carried items about the new IOOF Temple planned at Pulaski which was to include a movie theater. However, the project was not completed until 1925. The March 4 issue of the Jefferson County Journal said that the Temple Theatre was scheduled to open on the 6th of that month. Construction had taken several months, the newspaper reported.
The Contractor items attribute the design of the IOOF Temple and theater to architect William J. Townsend, but I’ve found no sources confirming that he retained the contract through the two year delay before construction began.
I’ve found no sources mentioning a Temple Theatre in Pulaski prior to this one, but there was a theatre called the Hohman Opera House (a couple of sources call it the Pulaski Theatre or the Pulaski Opera House) which was located next door to the site of the Temple. It was destroyed by fire in the 1930s, and when the Temple burned in 1939 Kallet bought the lot where the opera house had been. Newspapers reported that the new Kallet Theatre would have parking on one of the lots. The Kallet looks to have been a bit wider than the Temple, though, so the new building probably occupied part of the site of the opera house.
There were two Bell Theatres in San Francisco.I came across a reference to the Bell Theatre on Market Street being destroyed in the 1906 fire, but the Bell that Gus Cohn was connected with in later years was on Mission Street.
Theaters did change operators and names frequently, and several of the unidentified theatres from the 1900s-1910s might actually be theaters we already have listed under other names.