The Texas Theatre was opened at 231 West Jefferson Boulevard with fanfare on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 1931. The Texas Theatre was the novelty of longtime Oak Cliff resident and entrepreneur, C.R. McHenry, better known in the community as “Uncle Mack.” McHenry’s dream was to build a theater with state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment.
On November 22, 1963, nearly 15 Dallas police officers converged on the Texas Theatre in search of a man who had entered without paying. That man was Lee Harvey Oswald—murder suspect in the slaying of Officer J.D. Tippit and later, President John F. Kennedy’s accused lone assassin. He ducked into the theatre during an in-progress showing of War Is Hell and sat near the back of the auditorium.
In 1996, Pedro Villa rescued the theater from demolition when he learned of plans to convert it into a furniture warehouse. However, as Villa’s resources were exhausted and his pleas for investments went unheard, the theater defaulted back to Texas Rosewin-Midway Properties. The tattered and torn building remained vacant for three years, succumbing to vandals, stray animals and bad weather.
In 2001 The Oak Cliff Foundation purchased the building and began looking for a new permanent tenant. Several areas of the building were renovated and upgraded by the OCF. The Texas Theatre was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
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