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Austin Theater

Photo from the John Stewart collection
2130 Congress Ave S
Austin TX 78704

Closed Adult Theatre
Record #8880  
 Opened: 1939
 Closed: 1998
 Current Use:
Capacity: 713 seats
Architect(s): Mackie & Kamrath
Architectural Style(s):
National Register:
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As: Cinema West
 Previously operated by: ABC Interstate Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by John Stewart & Michael Morlan.

The Austin Theater opened about 1939 and this is the way it looked at that time. When I was growing up, the lobby looked different. They had built a concession stand that was along the staircase. Otherwise, the rest of the building looked the same.

Sometime in the sixties, the walls of the auditorium were painted, covering the murals. The art work around the screen was already gone after they put in the scope screen, which extended across the stage opening. When it became a porno theater, the walls were painted black and Cinema West was born.

The year 1998 marked the beginning of a gentrification of the South Congress area. The Austin Theater was renovated into a hip office space. The balcony was demolished and a second floor running from front to back on the right side of the old house added. The new interior of concrete and steel still sports the original projection room and fire door.

The exterior has been updated with copper cladding, large windows on the South side, and a "fourth floor" observation deck - great for watching the city's Fourth of July fireworks show. The original marquee still stands and is used for topical and humerous message for passerbyes.

As of 2005, the Austin Theater is home to a computer game developer.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

2005 photos from the Michael Morlan collection.

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Photos from the John Stewart collection.

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Last featured 3/8/2005. Last edited 11/14/2014.

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