2130 S. Congress Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc.
Architects: Karl Kamrath, Fred MacKie
Firms: MacKie & Kamrath
Functions: Office Space
Previous Names: Austin Theater
The Austin Theater opened August 18 1939 with “Stanley & Livingstone”. It was built by Interstate Theatres, and was the home of first run movies until the 1970’s. By the 1950’s it had become a second-run theatre and in the early-1970’s under new owners it operated as a Spanish language theatre. By the mid-1970’s, however, the theater and the surrounding area deteriorated and the Austin Theater was eventually closed.
In 1977, the theater was sold to a new owner who turned it into an adult movie theater. With the new format, the theater’s name was changed to Cinema West and it continued to show XXX-rated movies until it finally closed on October 31, 1998, amid deep complaints from residents.
The property was then sold to a new group who plans to turn the theater into office space to meet increased demand from local high-tech companies.
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Recent comments (view all 16 comments)
Anyone have any idea what corporation initially commissioned Mackie and Kamrath to construct the theater? Are M&K’s records housed anywhere in Houston?
Do any of you know if these old drive-in theaters are still for sale?
The two photos dated 1950 are NOT the Austin Theater. The first is the State Theater, its currently owned by The Paramount & State Theater Company http://www.austintheatre.org The Walgreens next door to the State Theater moved to a less costly location, but the building is still there on the corner.
The second photo is the Texas Theater in Palestine TX, not Austin.
The Austin Theater located at 2130 S Congress Ave, Austin Texas is currently owned according to tax records by Austin Music Partners LLC.
The finding aid to the Interstate Theatre Collection at the Dallas Public Library lists the Austin Theatre as designed in 1938 by the architectural firm of MacKie & Kamrath. The Austin is also listed in the finding aid to the Karl Kamrath Collection at the University of Texas in Austin. This aid also features brief biographies of Karl Kamrath and Fred MacKie.
The Texas Theatre, on the Drag (guadalupe) across from the University of Texas became an Eckerds Drug store in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, and when CVS came in and took over the Austin Eckerd’s chain it became one of them. I was trying to comment on the Varsity Theatre on the Drag, down at 24th & Guad, and could not find a comment section there. I was in the Varsity during the great Memorial Day Flood of 1981. At that time I believe it had just opened the 2nd floor “twin theatre” version and a disney cartoon was showing (an old disney, not a recent one). When we left the roads were flooding.
I was an usher at this theater when Mr. Hicks was manager.
Admission was 35¢ for children and 50¢ for adults. Hotdogs were 25¢…Charms suckers 10¢…Popcorn 15¢ and it had a balcony.
My brother and my cousins had so many good times there. The picture looks the same as when I was there.
The ticket booth was outside…from a ticket roll, no automation.
Where did those fun days go?
Old theatres like this had better presentation and not generic and impersonal like many new multiplexes. No wonder many of these new theatres close fast.
Grand opening ad as Austin in the photo section and below
Austin theatre opening · Fri, Aug 18, 1939 – 22 · Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas) · Newspapers.com
This theatre with art deco lobby should be saved.
Reopened as Cinema West on June 10th, 1977. Grand opening ad in the photo section. Adult movies at this time.