Crystal Theatre

1608 Elm Street,
Dallas, TX 75226

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matt54
matt54 on July 24, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Very interesting, Joe – thanks for reposting!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 24, 2013 at 3:36 pm

The long-missing Motion Picture Times article about the dismantling of the Crystal Theatre in 1928 can now be found at this fresh link.

The article notes that the Crystal was expanded after the construction of the larger Washington Theatre across the street. That expansion, which doubled the width of the theater, must have been the project noted in the April 9, 1913, issue of American Architect and Architecture. I think we can safely list I.A. Walker as the architect of the Crystal Theatre.

matt54
matt54 on December 10, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I just updated the street view (hope it sticks) to the building at 1608 Elm that once housed the Crystal Theatre – directly west of H.L. Greene’s Drug Store in the old Wilson Bldg. at the corner of Elm and Ervay (also former site of the original Titche’s store, before they moved east on Elm to a location across from the Tower Petroleum Bldg.), and directly across Elm from the present-day Thanksgiving Tower monstrosity at 1623-25 Elm, formerly the site of the Palace Theatre.

matt54
matt54 on August 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Map view couldn’t be more wrong, as it is nowhere near Dallas’s old Theatre Row. Address should be amended to “1608 Elm Street.” Building is still there and its appearance is remarkably like it was when it housed the Crystal.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 23, 2011 at 4:54 am

Motion Picture Times, to which I linked in my earlier comment, is no longer available on the Internet. Eventually, it will probably be reposted at Boxoffice Magazine’s own web site. So far they have posted only issues as far back as 1935.

I wonder if the Crystal Theatre opened by G.K. Jorgensen in 1911 was in an existing building. It seems likely in light of this article from the April 9, 1913, issue of trade journal American Architect and Architecture:

“Dallas.â€"G. K. Jorgensen will erect a new $100,000 moving picture theater on the site now occupied by the Crystal Theater on Elm St., between Stone and Ervay. Plans are now being prepared by Architect I. A. Walker, and will be ready for bidders about June 1.”
If Jorgensen was even considering demolishing the theater and replacing it, the building must have been more than two years old. I’ve found no later information about the project, so I don’t know if it was carried out or not, but if the building at 1608 Elm is still standing, as matt54 said it was a few months ago, it should be possible to get its year of construction from the city’s building department, or perhaps the local tax agency.

matt54
matt54 on November 24, 2010 at 11:10 am

That building (site of original Titche’s store) is the Wilson Building extension, which puts the Crystal right across the street from the old Washington Theatre (built the year after the Crystal), which itself was right next door to the Palace (built 1921), although it predated the Palace by about nine years. The Washington closed in 1927 and was demolished in 1932.

For a few years, then, this 1600 block of Elm was really a hub of motion picture activity.

matt54
matt54 on November 24, 2010 at 11:06 am

I get a 404 Error page when I try to access Joe’s article, so I’ll post a bit of info here that may be covered in his article.

Originally opened in 1911 at 1608 Elm (south side of the street) by G.K. Jorgensen, who operated an early Texas theater chain based in Galveston, and who built the Crystal before the trend of film theaters being located on the north side of Elm was firmly established.

In 1926, the lease was held by W.G. Underwood, later of Underwood & Ezell, who operated many walk-ins and drive-ins in Texas. His lease was due to expire in 1928, at which time the space would be remodeled into a McCrory’s store.

The building still stands, and abuts the building that was the site of the original Titche-Goettinger store in Dallas.

fturner
fturner on July 2, 2010 at 9:37 pm

The Dallas Public Library’s Dallas/Texas History collection has two photographs of the Crystal Theatre:
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 2, 2010 at 12:38 pm

The Crystal was a very early movie house on Elm Street, Dallas’s “Theatre Row.” A bit of its history is told in this article from Motion Picture Times of October 6, 1928. The Crystal was being dismantled at that time.