Texas Theatre

105 E. Houston Street,
San Antonio, TX 78201

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Paramount-Publix

Firms: Boller Brothers

Styles: Spanish Colonial

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Texas Theatre

Opened on December 17, 1926 for the Publix-Paramount chain, this large downtown theatre was designed by the Boller Brothers firm, and was done in Spanish Colonial and Rococco style. Its fantastic terra-cotta facade, complete with columns and multicolored arches decorated with gilded medallions, in addition to its huge vertical marquee, were as spectacular as the interior, which was one of the city’s finest movie houses of the 1920’s, along with the Empire Theatre, Aztec Theatre and, later, Majestic Theatre.

Hailed by Publix as ‘San Antonio’s Two-Million Dollar Showplace’ when it opened, it was the site of the premiere of Paramount’s “Wings” less than a year later, which was filmed near San Antonio. Stars Buddy Rogers and Clara Bow were both in attendance.

However, after many years as a successful first-run house, even thriving during the Depression era, the Texas Theatre began to decline, and closed in the 1970’s. Unfortunately, just as interest in saving many of the area’s historic buildings was starting to pick up, the Texas Theatre was razed in 1983, but its facade was salvaged, and incorpated into the modern office building built on the site. When Southwestern Bell took over the building, it meticulously restored the Texas' terra-cotta facade to its 1920’s appearance.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 32 comments)

royal725 on June 5, 2009 at 12:19 pm

In truth, neither SBC nor Southwestern Bell had anything to do with the restoration of the terra-cotta facade of the Texas Theatre. The client for the restoration was RepublicBank San Antonio which paid for it. The architect for the facade restoration was Ford, Powell & Carson, Inc. of San Antonio. An attempt was made to restore the sign as well, but it broke into small pieces when it was removed from the facade.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on June 22, 2009 at 10:02 am

The facade looks pretty haphazard tacked onto the new office tower, at least from the photos I have seen.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on September 13, 2010 at 9:49 pm

From the late 1930s a postcard view of the Texas Theatre in San Antonio.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on May 29, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Just saw this spectacular facade in downtown San Antonio. What an incredible travesty that the rest of this theater was demolished for such an ugly office building which could just as easily have been built on any of the vacant lots in the surrounding area. I’m sure the interior was amazing. I am, however, still grateful that the facade and box office are still with us but it leaves me wanting more. I wish they had made the decision to keep the lights as well. Alas…..

oldolmosusher on October 5, 2012 at 10:29 am

I was an usher at the Texas around 1960. Later I worked down the street at the Majestic. Lots of memories.

icebrg on December 31, 2013 at 10:32 am

Of historic significance, the Texas Theater was the site for the premiere of the first Academy Award for Best Picture recipient, “Wings.” The film was shot in and around San Antonio, primarily at Kelly Field AFB.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 24, 2014 at 6:57 pm

I know full well you can’t save every old theater. But this was such a nice room that it’s a shame they couldn’t have done better. I suppose if it had to be this or the Majestic they probably picked the better of the two. But I wish they had finished the job. They should have either torn the facade down or disassembled it and put it back up where it didn’t look like a stuffed deer head on someone’s trophy wall.

Luis Vazquez
Luis Vazquez on April 19, 2014 at 6:17 am

I hear you Life’s Too Short. I am happy that the facade was saved. It’s beautiful. But it actually makes it difficult to look at as you can’t help but feel awful that at truly beautiful theater was demolished for a run of the mill office tower. Yes, I prefer the facade over complete demolition, but it still hurts.

DavidZornig on May 17, 2017 at 8:57 pm

1940’s photo added courtesy of the Traces Of Texas Facebook page.

rivest266 on January 11, 2020 at 12:21 pm

The Texas theatre opened on December 17th, 1926. Grand opening ads posted.

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