Ritz Theatre

912 East Avenue,
Wellington, TX 79095

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Ritz Theatre Wellington, Texas

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Since 1928 the Ritz Theatre was the entertainment mecca of Wellington, Texas, a small farming and ranching town in the Texas Panhandle. The theatre was very elaborate for such a small town, and was the first in the area to show talking pictures.

It has been nearly destroyed by the elements after being closed in 1981, but in 2003 a local preservation group started raising money to save it and convert it to a community arts center.

The Ritz Theater re-opened on 10th Auguest 2007.

Contributed by Wes Reeves

Recent comments (view all 19 comments)

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on December 14, 2005 at 6:43 am

The Wellington Economic Development Corp. and Historic Wellington have hired Killis Almond & Associates, Inc. of San Antonio to complete this project. Almond has been involved in several theater restorations around the country, and has an extensive preservation resume. It has taken us almost four years to get this off the ground. Since the project began, we have stabilized the building, cleaned it, replaced the roof and have restored most of the facade (including a restoration of the vintage neon sign and marquee). Much of this work has been chronicled in the Cinema Treasures restorations/renovations news site. It is hoped most of the remaining work can be finished by the fall of 2006.

sdoerr on June 17, 2006 at 10:04 am

how is work coming along?

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on August 15, 2006 at 8:54 pm

All contracts have been awarded and major reconstruction is now under way. A revised plan has taken in a neighboring building where a new concession area will be housed, along with an event space and dressing rooms. The balcony and stage have been rebuilt and a new floor has been poured. Work should be completed in the spring of 2007. Historic Wellington is seeking startup funding from outside grants, but most of the capital expense (at least $2.5 million) is coming from the Zephyr Foundation based in Wellington. Funds may be contributed to Historic Wellington, Inc., 1600 Haskell St., Wellington, TX 79095.

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on August 12, 2007 at 7:34 am

The Ritz opened its doors to the public Friday, Aug. 10 with a showing of “Rush Hour 3”. This is the first movie in the Ritz in more than 25 years. It’s been an amazing transformation from an almost forgotten ruin to just about everyone’s new favorite place to be.

pinolian on January 6, 2009 at 1:37 am

My dad and his brother and sister used to go to The Ritz every Saturday back in the early 30’s when they lived in Wellington. The first time I saw it was in 1989 when I was back for a Groves family reunion. It was so sad to see the building that was in such disaray.
Im so glad that the theatre has re-opened and I cant wait to get a chance to go back there and see it again!!!!

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on January 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm

The town has really gotten behind the theater. We all have enjoyed taking our kids to movies when we’re visiting for holidays, and the live shows have been well attended with many folks coming from other towns. The dressing rooms are second to none, and the auditorium itself is top notch. I hope you can see the interior – please ask Joe Ponder for a tour when you’re in town next time.

Wes Reeves
Wes Reeves on February 1, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Thanks for linking to my photo. Yes, this was taken about the time I began working with the hometown folks to do something about the theater. There is a sad beauty in an image like that. With the restoration, we lost some of the grit that makes these places so interesting, but I figure there are plenty more ruins to look at in small towns across the country.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on June 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

A photo tour of the Ritz in Wellington from 2009, Enter Here.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on June 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

From 2010 an image of the Wellington Ritz Sign and neon along with a view of the ticket booth and entrance.

Rogue on September 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Just saw Jimmy Vaughn there last night and what a fabulous job Wellington has done on “The Ritz”.
Its just as nice on the inside as out.

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