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Palace Theatre
El Paso, Texas

 

Description: Palace Theatre
Other Names: originally Alhambra Theatre; 2014 Tricky Falls
Address: 209 South El Paso Street, El Paso, El Paso County, Texas
Type: theatre with adjoining shops
Original Client:
Historic Inventory: National Register number 80004109
Date: opened August 1, 1914
Condition: extant

Architect or Firm: Henry C. Trost
Associated Architect or Firm: Trost & Trost
Contractors:
Dimensions and Orientation: 63 feet across x 134 feet deep; entrance faces east
Architectural Style: Spanish Colonial Revival
Budget/Cost: $150,000

Foundation: concrete in rear, stone in front
Wall Materials: brick
Roofing Materials: composition
Other Materials Used: concrete floors; lobby specifications call for marble baseboards, plaster ornament, and art glass in the doors
Remodeling and Additions: The facade was restored by Hammontree-McGraw Company in 1986-1987; for changes made in 1991.

Present Owner: Franklin Land & Resources, Inc., a subsidiary of El Paso Electric Company(1980s)
Location of Drawings: El Paso Public Library: (D-1) 18 sheets, ink on linen plans, pages 1 through 18, April 4, 1914 and April 21, 1914, including front and rear elevations, section, details of lobby and confectionary parlor; one brown line, page 12, facade, not as built; Aultman A5803, photograph of study for the theatre
Location of Documentary Photographs: El Paso Public Library: Ponsford 203, front elevation with shops; Aultman A5876, facade with shops, A5370, A5270, facade with shops and bystanders, 1156, 1157.

Bibliography: (1) El Paso Herald, August 1-2, 1914, page 3-A, The Alhambra to have initial opening tonight.
(2) El Paso Herald, February 13, 1918, page 12, states that the theatre had the largest pipe organ in the Southwest especially built for it
(3) El Paso Herald, March 23, 1921, page 4, photograph of view from the stage to the balcony
(4) Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht, Henry C. Trost: Architect of the Southwest (El Paso: El Paso Public Library Association, 1981), pages 61-6, described; page 62, illustrated
(5) Ed Foster, Artists Chisel away to Restore Beauty, El Paso Times, September 7, 1986, page 1B (description of restoration by Hammontree McGraw Company, photograph of renovation in progress)
(6) Ed Foster, A Pretty Facade; Palace Restoration Just Covers Surface, El Paso Times, March 4, 1987, page 1B (description of restoration by Hammontree McGraw Company, photograph of renovated facade)

Remarks: Commission 2285.
The Moorish theme was carried out on the interior. In 1991 the facade was repainted uniformly beige, the box office was removed, and a moveable metal security door, extending across the entire ground level facade, was installed. As of July, 1993, the ground level was remodeled into a retail space called Chihuahua of New York.

A large organ was included in the interior furnishings to accompany the screening of “silent” movies.

January 8, 1915 – Moving Pictures at the Alhambra start today

Today the Alhambra Theater opened under new management. The theater was changed to a straight Moving Picture House, showing the highest class of pictures obtainable.The first movie was ” The Adventures of Kitty Cobb” The movie was adapted from a series of newspaper cartoons by James Montgomery Flagg.¬†Julie Swayne Gordon played Kitty Cobb, a Long Island lass who heads to New York City in hopes of landing a handsome inventor ( Jack Hopkins) for her husband. She finds work in the theatrical district, while the inventor busies himself designing a Secret Weapon. When the sinister foreign spy (Howard Missimer) tries to steal the invention, Kitty prevents him from doing so.

Prepared for the El Paso Public Library by Lloyd C. and June F. Engelbrecht under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, 1993