Lyric Theatre

Main Street,
Waurika, OK 73573

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 2, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Cinema Treasures is the only source on the Internet that mentions a house called the Waurika Theatre (not even CinemaTour has it.) I think it might be a phantom name, or the name of a theater that operated only briefly, and long ago. Waurika’s principal and longest-running theater was called the Empress.

This photo might depict the site of the Empress Theatre. At least there is a sign saying “Empress Theater” on a vacant lot. It is a mid-block location, and it could be at 111 S. Main Street, so it could be the house on the 1923 map Lauren found. The Empress Theatre was in operation by 1912, though I don’t know if it was then in the same building depicted in the photo (CinemaTour lists both an Empress and a New Empress, though neither is given an address.) This item appeared in the September 27, 1912, issue of the Waurika News-Democrat:

“Manager GAIL DURHAM opened the Empress Theatre on Thursday night of last week for the season with a three night stand of MR. TRUMAN DEROAME Company of 12 people.”
Claude Thorp bought the Empress in 1962, according to the Henrietta Clay County Leader of January 18 that year. When Thorp retired in 1966, the November 13 issue of the Wichita Falls Times reported that he had sold the Empress Theatre at Waurika to Mr. L. W. Martin of Burkburnett. The Empress was in operation at least as late as 1972, when its then-operators, Ed and Dorothy Crew, were mentioned in the October 2 issue of Boxffice

The March 15, 1917, issue of Texas Trade Review and Industrial Record reported that a Mr. B. Divers planned to build a two-story, approximately 850-seat theater building, 50x140 feet, at Waurika. I don’t know if that project was carried out. It was too wide to have been on the lot in the photo, which looks to be about 25 feet.

Lauren Durbin
Lauren Durbin on July 29, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Fire insurance maps show a theater at the NW corner of Main & Broadway as of 1916 and one at 111 S. Main as of 1923. No later maps are available.

raybradley on March 23, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Here’s a look at Broadway and Main. Perhaps a history buff can point out the old Waurika Theatre.
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