Gem Theatre

713 Ohio Avenue,
Wichita Falls, TX 76301

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The Gem Theatre was Wichita Fall’s first purpose-built movie theatre, opening sometime in the 1910’s. It was located at 713 Ohio Avenue near the train station. A clipping in the collection of the Wichita County Historical Society describes an elaborate cooling system of interlocked ceiling fans.

By World War II, the Gem Theatre had been acquired by the Paramount-affiliated Interstate Circuit. By the 1950’s it had become a “coloreds only” house, the African-American neighborhood being just a block north of the railroad tracks.

Contributed by Randolph Man

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

WanderinBill
WanderinBill on October 27, 2012 at 4:34 pm

My great Grandfather William McIlheran once owned this theater. When he died in 1928 two of his sons took it over. My grandfather Robert (Bob) Mcilheran and his brother Aaron.

Nancylmcc
Nancylmcc on December 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm

This theatre was owned by my grandfather, Aaron McIlheran, brother of Bob McIlheran. He is also credited with opening first movie theatre in Dallas in approx 1905.

LFWeidman
LFWeidman on March 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

My great-grandfather, Joseph Weidman, and his brother, built the Gem originally.

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