Arcadia Theatre

121 N. Spring Avenue,
Tyler, TX 75702

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Arcadia TheatreĀ© Tyler TX...Don Lewis / Billy Smith

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Arcadia Theatre was just one of the many theatres that lined the streets of Tyler at one time. A very attractive two story building with a sloped red shale shingled roof leading into a dark tan stucco down to the first level seperated by a dark green tile line then changed into a cream color stucco. There was a black tile along the botton of the building and around the entrace.

A very narrow triangular marquee with just a single panel for attractions and then large green neon lettering above spelling out “Arcadia”. The box office was located to the right of the front entrance doors. The theatre had a small lobby and small balcony.

In 2005, a coffee house was opened in the former theatre’s lobby area.

Contributed by Chuck Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

DonLewis
DonLewis on July 26, 2006 at 4:56 pm

My photograph of the ARCADIA View link

longislandmovies
longislandmovies on July 26, 2006 at 5:04 pm

just there today…..

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 15, 2007 at 4:23 pm

This is a 2/6/2005 article about the Arcadia Theater.

“Old Tyler, Texas, theater to be converted into a coffee shop.

Source: Tyler Morning Telegraph
Byline: Greg Junek

Feb. 6—A brush of the hand across a seat in the old theater building creates a cloud of dust. Old projection equipment that once illuminated the screen with images of movie classics now sits gummed up with a certain substance, courtesy of pigeons that found their way into the booth.

Not that the Arcadia Theater building, 121 N. Spring Ave., is not a sound structure — owners Randy and Shannon Stevenson have been assured of that — but the days of movies lighting up the screen left when the theater closed its doors after a brief run of showing classic films in 1992.

It has since served as a Christian music concert venue and a church.

Now, the building, constructed in the mid 1920s to replace a previous theater that burned, is being readied to house a coffee shop in its former lobby area.

The Stevensons said they believe the Arcadia Coffee Co. will be a hit with employees on and near the square during business hours. If business is good, they said they will extend their operating hours.

“I guess it was really kind of my wife’s idea several years ago, but it was not something that we pursued,” Stevenson said. “Actually, we were over here early voting and we saw the "for sale” sign on the theater, and it just went from there. And we wound up buying the property 10 months later.“ They took possession of the building in July 2003.

Stevenson said the coffee cafe will be the first phase. Later, he and his wife will refurbish the theater portion of the building.

“Hopefully we will be able to allow the community to use it and to have functions there,” he said.

They said the auditorium would be suitable for recitals, religious events, concerts, awards ceremonies and small graduation ceremonies.

But until then, a firewall will be built between the coffee shop and the theater portion.

“The coffee cafe will be more or less self-contained, and when we go into the theater that will be another project,” Stevenson said.

He declined to name the amount of investment the project will require. Tyler building permit records show construction work on the commercial remodel of the lobby for the coffee cafe to be $45,000.

The store will serve Seattle’s Best coffee, which Starbucks Coffee Co. purchased about two years ago. Mrs. Stevenson said the coffee cafe will consist of about 1,300 square feet, and will be able to comfortably seat 35-36 customers.

“We’ll have pastries,” she said. “It will be very, very similar to Starbucks. We plan to have one or two selections of possibly a Panini sandwich with chips, or wraps. It will just be a light lunch.” But the Stevensons said the business will, first and foremost, be a coffee cafe.

Stevenson said all of the electrical work in the building will be redone and the letters spelling “Arcadia” on the marquee will be retained and mounted on the building front. But the marquee will have to come down.

“It was just not salvageable,” Mrs. Stevenson said, “but the letters are in pretty good shape. — We really wanted to retain the name "Arcadia” because that’s what everybody knows it as, and they’re going to refer to it as the old Arcadia Theater.“ The Stevensons said they plan to have the coffee cafe open by May, hopefully by early April. Mrs. Stevenson said the business will probably employ five to eight people. She will manage the shop for at least the first six months, and then hire a manager.

Her husband said they plan for shop hours to be 6:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

“Certainly after the theater is restored that could change,” he said. “We might find that we might need to extend our hours into the evening on the weekends, but our primary market will be the business people and the government people working on the square.”

Mrs. Stevenson said she and her husband do not want to wait too long to remodel the theater portion of the building. She said she hopes construction can start on that portion in nine months to a year after work on the coffee shop is completed.

Stevenson opened Tyler School of Aviation in 1991 and served as its president. He sold the school to Oxford Aviation in 2001 and stayed with the company until 2002. In early 2003 he entered the commercial real estate market".

philbertgray
philbertgray on August 19, 2007 at 6:19 am

I spent my youth in the mid 1950s at the three theatres in downtown Tyler. I couldn’t wait for Saturdays. I got one dollar and walked to downtown Tyler, which was still had a lively downtown. I usually went to the Tyler Theatre first and then on to the Arcadia and Liberty. The Tyler showed most of the first runs and the bigger hits but the Liberty and Arcadia both occasionally ran some of the bigger films. I saw “Around the World in Eighty Days' at the Arcadia. They had installed a temporary big screen in the auditorium for the film. I also saw the cropped version re-release of "The Wizard of Oz” which was sold as “See it in widescreen for the first time”. The rest of the time they had the typical double bill fare of B films – mostly westerns and adventures.

For some reason one of the films I saw there that has always stuck in my mind is “The Saga of the Viking Women and Their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent”. It was advertised not only as a great adventure but also as the film with the longest title ever.

The bathrooms were upstairs and the windows actually opened. I loved to poke my head out of the window. The marquee blocked some of the view but I could still see the town square through the letters.

I’m glad the building has been saved, if not restored as a functioning theatre. It saddens me to see almost all of the lesser theatres gone now, but I understand the economics behind their demise. At least the Shannons have given The Arcadia a second life and a second chance. I think it’s terrific that they are doing this.

I hope one day to take a return trip to Tyler and see the Arcadia again. I guess the green sofa I used to sit on eating my 5 cent pickle while waiting for the movie to start will no longer be in the lobby but it will still be a thrill to see it.

Phil Gray

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 2, 2007 at 7:36 am

A Reuter theater organ opus 145 size 2/5 was installed in the Arcadia Theater in 1925.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 28, 2007 at 7:42 am

Here is a photo of the Arcadia Coffee Co. The marquee was removed.

philbertgray
philbertgray on July 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

There is a wonderful picture of the Arcadia and the entire block taken in 1929 at Texasscapes.com. Here is the link:

View link

frontrowkid
frontrowkid on April 28, 2011 at 11:33 am

I believe I have a photo of the Arcadia Theater taken circ 1943 when Roy Rogers and Trigger made a personal appearance. My photo shows Roy rearing Trigger up on his hind legs in front of the theater. Your description of the very narrow marquee and the green letter spelling out “Arcadia” on the sign above matches what I see in the photo. The building shown on the left was “ Ira Prewitt’s Hardware Store.” The box office can barely seen to the right of the entrance just over the heads of the kids gathered outside. My guess is that this was in 1943 when Roy became King of the Cowboys at Republic. His billing with Trigger and the Sons of the Pioneers can be seen on the sign over the front entrance. The looks of the kids' faces at seeing their hero in person on a rearing Trigger shows why Roy was so popular. I don’t have the hardware for posting this photo on line but if any of you former Front Row Kids of Tyler, Texas are still around, you may recall this very special day. I would guess that the photo was taken by either Roy’s publicity agent or a local photographer. My father was a local newspaper reporter for many years. In 1956, he took me to the Ohio State Fair where we met Roy and I had my photographer with him. Dad also took some photos of the crowd and of Roy and Dale. A publicity agent with Al Rankin Agency tried to get some free photos from Dad by promising him payment and then when the photos were sent, he tried to claim that the photos were not suitable. Dad contacted Art Rush, Roy’s personal manager, and Rush fired the guy. He also sent Dad and I color photos of Roy, Dale and Trigger autograped. I also still have the black and white photos that Dad took at the fair.

Driveintheatre2001
Driveintheatre2001 on January 23, 2012 at 9:43 pm

A 2000-2002 Photo I took of the Arcadia Theatre..

Randy A Carlisle – Historical Photographer

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