Texas Theater

115 N. 8th Street,
Ballinger, TX 76821

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Texas Theater© Ballinger TX Don Lewis / Billy Smith

This is a small theater in downtown Ballinger. The building originally opened as the Princess Theater around 1915, it later became the Maeroy Theater with 525 seats. It became the Palace Theater in 1928. It was still operating in 1950. It was later re-named Texas Theatre following the demise of the other Texas Theatre in town which was destroyed by fire in 1962.

The upper facade is yellow brick, the lower facade is plaster with orange and black tiles at street level. The sign is a very odd looking structure which is too big for the building and spells TEXAS in white letters on rounded blocks that get bigger toward the top. It was reopened in 2013 but closed January 8, 2015. By early-2017 it had reopened as a restaurant, which screens movies and has live bands on the stage.

Contributed by Seth Gaines

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

MikeBaird on December 31, 2007 at 12:17 am

ken mc, The photo you are linking to is the original Texas Theatre along with the Texas Grill (notice the Texas Grill sign). My father was the owner of the Texas Grill when it burned and I was 16 years old at the time. He had no insurance and lost everything. He rebuilt it around the other side of the block on the corner opposite the Runnels County Courthouse. The sign was moved and is still there.

The previous pictures of the “Texas Theatre” are after the fire and are the old Palace Theatre renamed (it was originally for minorities). The suggestion that the fire started in the Grill are the first I have heard. I have always understood that local teens had played with fireworks in the theatre and later a smoldering seat broke into flames causing the fire.

BTW the business on the left side of the threatre was Daughteries Drug store before it became a beauty salon.

Any other questions, just ask. I was there.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on March 21, 2009 at 2:59 pm

A close up of the second Texas Theater box office.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 20, 2011 at 5:52 am

Still standing as of 2011 a photo (not from 2011) of the Texas Theater in Ballinger.

olfenite on October 8, 2012 at 3:23 am

I heard that the Texas Theater is being reopened as a dinner and movie theater. I saw some work being done on it about two weeks ago. I was wondering if anyone can confirm this or not.

Ballinger Movie Company
Ballinger Movie Company on October 8, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Yes, the Ballinger Movie Company is renovating the theater for opening in 2014. The screen is in, the sound system is amazing, and the lounge upstairs is ready for club members! Web site should be up and running by early December.

The theater will be an asset to the area, including live music, stage productions, and will be available for community events and meetings.

allanhowls on December 10, 2013 at 5:22 am

Hi, is there any update on a website or opening date? I’ve been trying to contact the theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 11, 2015 at 7:36 pm

The official web site is dead, and contains nothing but a promo for GoDaddy and some ads. Their Facebook page is still up, but has this notice: “We regret to inform you that we will be closed as of January 8th, 2015.”

Backseater on February 15, 2017 at 11:22 pm

I was in Ballinger last Saturday night (11 Feb 2017) and was surprised to find the marquee all lit up. It was the first time I had ever seen that; and I’ve been walking and driving past it, sometimes at long intervals, since the early 1950s.

Apparently a local barbecue chef/entrepreneur has reopened it for lunch and dinner during the week and with country & western music on weekends. I went back on Sunday. It was closed, but the operator was there and was kind enough to give us a short tour of the place, the first time I had ever been in the building.

It’s very narrow inside, the same width as the front, and they’ve put in tables in place of the theater seats. The walls are the original natural local limestone masonry and the stage is quite large. The new screen goes up and down electrically, but I don’t know what they do about projection—probably digital. The balcony has been turned into a VIP lounge area, and the projection booth has been replaced by restrooms along a hallway right behind the upper front windows.

I took some pictures and will post them when I get a chance. Sorry I didn’t think to get any of the marquee and vertical illuminated. It was brilliant with lots of red and yellow.

Here’s a link to their website with copyright date 2017: http://www.texasvenuebbq.com/index.php

Another part of the same site. Some more photos, including a couple of interiors: http://www.texasvenuebbq.com/photoGalleries/index/gallery/limit:0

Some photos on Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/the-old-texas-theater-ballinger-2?select=xoWSarBtPy9YSi9hHX8TPQ&reviewid=5K9R_-TZvIEQvWjsfHQt0w

Tripadvisor with a photo of the lit-up vertical; postings are from September 2016: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g55437-d7061155-Reviews-The_Old_Texas_Theater-Ballinger_Texas.html

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 10, 2018 at 2:37 am

The 808 seats we currently have listed for this house belonged to the Texas Theatre that burned in 1962. The Palace Theatre was listed in FDY with 525 seats from its first appearance in 1928 until the 1955 edition when it dropped to 519.

Prior to 1928 Ballinger had a house called the Maeroy Theatre, also with 525 seats, so I suspect its disappearance from the listings after 1927 and the appearance of the Palace in 1928 indicates a name change sometime before the 1928 FDY went to press. The Maeroy was mentioned in the January 13, 1923, issue of The Moving Picture World as having installed a new Wurlitzer organ, so it was in operation under that name at least that early.

The names I’ve found for theaters in Ballinger prior to 1923 are the Queen, the Cosy (which was on 7th Street), the White City Airdome, and the Princess, which was operated in 1916 by a Roy Reeder. A web page that has now gone missing said that today’s Texas Theatre (the former Palace) “… originated [as] Roy Reeder’s Princess Theater.” Unfortunately the snippet Google has saved from the missing page doesn’t provide any other details.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 10, 2018 at 10:18 pm

Originally called the Princess Theatre, it was most likely opened in 1915 or 1916, as it was not listed in the 1914-15 edition of American Motion Picture Directory, which was published in early 1915, but was being mentioned in trade journals in 1916.

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