Harlem Theater

307 E. Murphy Street,
Odessa, TX 79761

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HarlemĀ©...Odessa Texas

The city of Odessa got its first theater opened especially for African American’s in June 1945, when the Harlem Theater was put into operation by O.L. Alderfer.

Although the Harlem never had the comfort and splendor of other larger plush theaters in town, it was never the less almost as popular, having a long run of success.

Seating was provided for 220, and the showplace lasted over two decades, hitting its peak during the 1950’s.

The old structure was still standing when I last visited the location in 2006, although years of neglect had left it in disaray. It was refreshing to gaze at it, remembering what it represents.

In 1958, the Harlem was renamed Aztec Theatre, and in 1961 it got another name; Palace Theatre. Eight years later in April 1961, the old showplace was closed, quietly taking its place in history, remembered by only a few old timers.

This theater is not to be confused with the 1928 built;Palace Theatre on 4th Street.

Contributed by Billy Holcomb

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on February 28, 2009 at 3:25 pm

A photo from 2006 of the Harlem Theater’s former home in Odessa.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

A 2006 photo of the Harlem Theater building in Odessa.

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