Queen Theater

700 Congress Avenue,
Austin, TX 78701

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DavidZornig on November 2, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Also courtesy of the Austin History Center Facebook page.

The shell of the building is still there, but the facade is gone. The Queen went into disrepair and closed in the 1950s, but not before the ceiling collapsed (with people inside). It is now The Contemporary (formerly Arthouse), and if you go inside, you can still see some of the original ceiling and walls of the old theater.

DavidZornig on November 2, 2015 at 2:33 pm

Added undated early photo and below copy credit & courtesy of the Austin History Center Facebook page.

Queen Theater at 700-702 Congress Avenue. George Littlefield bought the original Queen at 700 Congress and its next door neighbor, the Casino Theater, in 1920 with plans to tear them both down and build an all new expanded theater. He died before the plans came to fruition, but the project continued under J.J. Hegman. The new Queen Theater opened in 1921 with the first electric light sign for a theater in town, first wiring for sound, seating for 900, a lavishly decorated interior, a unique projection room and more.

While running the Queen in the 1920s, the Hegmans battled Texas' Blue Laws, which at the time forbade most commerce on Sundays. Angry that many drugstores and cigar shops operated illegally on Sundays with impunity, the Hegmans began defying the Blue Laws by advertising Sunday pictures. Eventually, all of Austin had to close on Sundays to ensure equal enforcement of the law. We have an online finding aid for the J.J. Hegman Papers: http://bit.ly/14wE31f.

rdk on September 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm

In the 1940s the Queen ran double features with a serial on Sat. Owned by Interstate Circuit.

CSWalczak on July 15, 2012 at 8:51 am

This article about the renovation of the Austin Art House has some pictures that show traces of the former theater.