Texas Theater

115 N. 8th Street,
Ballinger, TX 76821

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 10, 2018 at 2:18 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 9, 2018 at 6:37 pm

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.

Backseater on February 15, 2017 at 3:22 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 11, 2015 at 11:36 am

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.”

allanhowls on December 9, 2013 at 9:22 pm

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

Ballinger Movie Company
Ballinger Movie Company on October 8, 2013 at 11:38 am

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.

olfenite on October 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm

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.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on January 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm

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

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on March 21, 2009 at 7:59 am

A close up of the second Texas Theater box office.

MikeBaird on December 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm

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.

kencmcintyre on October 22, 2007 at 8:47 pm

This is supposed to be the Texas Theater in Ballinger, circa 1940. It doesn’t look like the other photos that have been posted, however. Perhaps there were two incarnations of the theater:

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2007 at 5:28 pm

The first Texan was destroyed on 1/8/62, according to the Austin Statesman:

Bellinger Fire Destroys Theater

Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the Texas Theater, a grill and a beauty shop early today in downtown Ballinger. The fire apparently started in the grill and spread rapidly. No estimate of the loss was made immediately but it was termed Ballinger’s largest fire since 1946 when another theater burned. Fire departments from Ballinger, Winters and Coleman battled the blaze.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on July 17, 2006 at 6:37 pm

My photograph of the TEXAS in Ballinger View link

texasup on June 29, 2005 at 3:28 pm

Yes,I have lived in Ballinger for about 1 ½ years and the first
time I seen the TEXAS theater I was just in amazed by it.And was sad
that it just sits there.You can just imagine the history.And was
wondering why noone has ever restored it.I would almost bet that if
it where possible the community and business of Ballinger would
donate,volunteer there time and money to see TEXAS open again.I
know I would help.We could restore to the way it was back then.
It would give our kids of all ages something to do.And could have
a family night.And the people in Ballinger could be proud of
what they have done as a community project.Just sit there a moment
and imagine it!

Soldiersmom on February 5, 2005 at 11:24 pm

Yes……..I was in there about 3 years ago. I have the sign that was in the window where you paid that told how much cost….the movie, balcony seats…ect. I wanted to buy it years ago but someone came in and distroyed the inside by pulling out most of the seats and I went up to the balcony and the projection room. That junk is the Fultons……they have juck boxes and all kinds of pinball machines there. But it is still an awsome place…..great memories. and the roof was awful when I went in. I think it was repaired.
It was the best times of my young life.

Soldiersmom on February 5, 2005 at 6:37 pm

When I was young, my favorite thing was to go to the movies. We had 3 walk in movie theaters and two drive-in theaters. Only one remains and it is closed for many years. I will get a picture of it….Texas Theater is the name. I have such wonderful memories of those times. My Mother would give me a dollar and I watched double features…of course all the Elvis movies and of course Frankie and Annette all those beach party movies…lol. I will take a pic and put it in the blank space for all to see…at least the outside.
Thanks for having such a wonderful site.

Seth on September 14, 2004 at 6:15 pm

Nope, sorry. I was living in San Antonio when I took the trip to Ballinger and points beyond.

Backseater on September 6, 2004 at 8:36 am

My mother grew up in Ballinger and I went to the “old” Texas many times when visiting my grandparents as a kid. I particularly remember the Bowery Boys comedies and the previews of “TARANTULA” in 1956. The “old” Texas lasted into the early/mid-1960s and then burned. My uncle said, “They hired a good arsonist who didn’t get caught.” The sign was moved across the street to the other theater several years later. Ballinger also had a third theater on Main Street. I never saw it open, but the building is still recognizable as a theater from the projection booth windows above the entrance. It was a restaurant last time I was in town. According to my uncle, the three were never all open at the same time. There were also two drive-ins in Ballinger, the Horseshoe to the South and the Hillcrest on the Bronte highway. I saw “The Private Lives of Adam and Eve” with Mamie van Doren(!) at the Hillcrest in 1961, one of the first drive-in movies I actually drove myself to. A Miracle-Grow plant now occupies the site, but the original drive-in entrance is still there, with posters from the closing bill still in place (as of about 2002, at least). Ah, memories. To Seth: I have a cousin in Ballinger named Seth—could that be you?

Seth on August 29, 2004 at 12:45 pm

I saw that building. The front facade is still up, and you drive in through the middle to park. Didn’t look like a theater to me. I wonder if the sign came from this one.