Fort Worth, TX - Downtown’s hidden theater awaits a restoration angel

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on March 24, 2017 at 1:58 pm


From the Star-Telegram:
The last outpost of downtown Fort Worth’s movie house “Show Row” may yet make a comeback.

But the new owners of the Hollywood Theater, closed 40 years, are not yet ready to say much about plans to lease the space for potential restoration to its 1930s showbiz glory.

Another hint of the Hollywood’s possible return appeared this week, when the unsigned social media account Urban Fort Worth posted photos of the theater’s dusty remnants.

The theater is next door to the Historic Electric Building Apartments on West Seventh Street. The lobby and facade were converted to retail space in 1979, and the lower floor was paved for apartment parking.

But the top half of the theater remains: two upper balconies, the upper concourse and most of the decorated screen.

The new Houston-based owner, Tradewind Properties, is advertising the space for lease. Property manager Amber Frisbie said Thursday that the idea is “very preliminary” and Tradewind President James Rastello isn’t ready to discuss it.

When Tradewind bought the Historic Electric Building Apartments last year, Rastello said the theater “is still breathtaking and much of the historic character and ornamentation is intact and well-preserved. … We believe the theater has the potential to be restored to resemble its original state and to become an extremely unique entertainment venue that reminisces 1920s Fort Worth.”

Fort Worth architect Ames Fender knows what’s inside. He worked on a previous redo.

Restoring it “was the hope all along,” he said Thursday — “But I think the reality is, what can go there, and who would go in and run it?”

The restored Ridglea Theater in west Fort Worth has had hit-or-miss success, and the Live Oak music hall near West Magnolia Avenue recently announced that it’s moving to Arlington.

The Haltom Theater on East Belknap Street and the New Isis in the Stockyards await a restoration angel. Same for the Berry in south Fort Worth.

In 1930, the Hollywood opened with the Frank Capra movie “Flight.” In 1940, crowds lined up around the block there to see “Gone With the Wind.”

In 1964, future Star-Telegram columnist Bob Ray Sanders, then 17, stood in line to become the first African-American patron the day after the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

The Hollywood was the last “Show Row” theater on Seventh Street, outlasting the Worth (1971) and the Palace (1974).

But all that was an awfully long time ago.

Read more here:

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at

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