Capitol Theater

719 Main Street,
Houston, TX 77002

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm

There’s a photo of the auditorium of the Zoe Theatre on page 37 of David Welling’s Cinema Houston (Google Books preview.) Welling says that the Zoe opened on October 14, 1914, and was renamed the Capitol Theatre in March, 1922. He also says that a few architectural remnants of the theater have survived.

Page 41 of Steven Strom’s Houston Lost and Unbuilt (Google Books preview) has a ca.1920 photo of the entrance of the Zoe Theatre. Architect Alfred Finn’s office was at that time located directly above the theater entrance. The Foster Building was Finn’s first commission as an independent architect, according to the guide to his papers at the Houston Public Library.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 28, 2012 at 6:45 am

The finding aid for the papers of architect Alfred C. Finn (online here) lists multiple projects for this address. Finn designed the ten-story office building on this site for M. E. Foster in 1913. The project included a theater, though no name is given for it. An addition to the office building was made in 1915, and alterations in 1922. In 1927, alterations were made to the Capitol Theatre itself, but the finding aid does not specify their nature.

In 1930, the Foster Building, at 715-719 Main Street, and the adjacent Gulf Building, at 723-725 Main Street, which Finn had designed in 1915, were combined into single office block with a common lobby. The finding aid gives no indication of what happened to the Capitol Theatre, or when it was closed.

The buildings currently on the site might be the historic structures with modern skins applied to them, as they are ten stories in height. It wouldn’t make sense to knock down ten story steel-framed buildings just to build new ten story steel-framed building in their place.

sepiatone on January 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

The Zoe Theater opened at 5:00 p.m. on October 10, 1914. Mr. John E. Davis was the first manager. The premier feature was “America” with Bert Shepherd and Arthur Voegtlin.