Royal Theater

Houston Street,
San Antonio, TX 78202

Unfavorite No one has favorited this theater yet

Showing 8 comments

DonLewis
DonLewis on May 25, 2012 at 5:41 am

From the early 1900s a view of Houston Street along with the Royal & Princess Theaters in San Antonio.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I’ve found another reference to the Royal Theatre, this in the October 10, 1908, issue of The Billboard, in the magazines “Playhouses” section:

“The Royal Theatre, which is to occupy a building at 218 East Houston street, San Antonio, Tex., will be one of the prettiest and coziest amusement places In the Southwest. Harry J. Moore, the manager, is busily arranging the bookings and making other details for the theatre. The Royal is to give high-class vaudeville for ten cents. The Royal Amusement Co., who control the theatre, have recently filed articles of incorporation with the secretary of state at Austin. The capital stock Is $15,000. The incorporators are E. W. Mills. J. M. Nix and Lee Shannon.”
It’s possible that the Royal Theatre on Houston Street was closed in or by 1920. A contributor to the Wikipedia article about the Majestic Theatre found this bit of information, and cites a 1988 article in the Theatre Historical Society’s journal Marquee as the source:
“The land on which the office building-theatre complex now stands was leased to Karl Hoblitzelle from J. M. Nix, who had purchased it in 1920 from the Enterprise Company of Dallas. The land came with the curious deed restriction that, until April 5, 1928, ‘neither aforesaid land nor any building or improvement or any part thereon shall be used or occupied for theatrical, motion picture, or amusement purposes at any time…’”
The wording doesn’t make clear if the deed restriction was part of the lease by Nix to Hoblitzelle, or part of the sale by Enterprise Company to Nix, or both. If the deed restriction was part of the sale, and included the portion of the property on which the Royal Theatre sat, then the house must have been closed when the sale was made. The Royal must also have been closed if it was included in the lease agreement.

But I can’t think of any reason why either Nix or Enterprise Company would place the deed restriction on the property unless they were either still operating the Royal themselves, in which case it must not have been included in the original lease, or if they had opened another theater nearby and wanted to prevent new competition at this location.

Also, I’ve found that architect H. L. Page’s first name was Harvey.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 29, 2011 at 5:29 pm

As CSWalczak’s comment of October 25, 2010, says, and the photo Don Lewis linked to on November 1, 2010, shows, the Royal Theatre on Houston Street was on part of the site now occupied by the much larger Majestic Theatre.

The Royal had to have been demolished by 1929. That means that the theater in the current description, still operating in 1943, must have been one of the two other Royals mentioned in Bob Jensen’s comment of October 31, 2010.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 2, 2010 at 6:35 am

The October 7, 1908, issue of the trade journal Engineering-Contracting had an item, partly unreadable in the scan, in its “Contracts Let” column that said (questionable words in parentheses): “San Antonio, Tex— Theatre.â€"P. T. (Shirly?) for erecting Royal Theatre for H. J. (Moore?) H. L. Page, Architect."

The arch in the photo that CWalczak linked to appears to be an example of the Moorish style that was briefly in vogue around the turn of the century. I notice that a somewhat Spanish-Moorish-looking geometric design also decorated the ceiling of the auditorium. That must have been the style Mr. Page was going for. I’m surprised they didn’t call the theater the Alhambra.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on December 2, 2010 at 5:16 am

A MIGHTY HILLGREEN-LANE THEATER PIPE ORGAN was installed in this theater. It was a 2 manual/19 rank, Opus 628, installed in 1921 and cost $3,750. The Hillgreen-Lane & Company was out of Alliance, Ohio. Does anyone know what happened to the organ?

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 31, 2010 at 5:54 am

I found an address of 218 East Houston Street for the Royal Theater, but the HUGH Majestic Theater which is still operating is at 208 East Houston Street and it was built in 1929??

Other Royal Theaters:

1112 Texas Avenue
211 Main Avenue

Need an address, more info and photos.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm

Unless San Antonio had two theaters at different times called the Royal, this theater’s entry at San Antonio Theatres: Now and Then [url=http://www.satheatres.com/Royal_Theatre.php]http://www.satheatres.com/Royal_Theatre.php[/url indicates that it was long gone by 1943; it was razed to make way for the Majestic, which opened in 1928. There are two pictures on that webpage.