Liberty Theatre

109 Prairieville Street,
Athens, TX 75751

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 2, 2021 at 1:00 am

The correct name of the street is Prairieville Street. Also, this house can be marked as demolished. Historic Google street views show that the last old buildings on the west side of Athens' town square came down sometime between 2008 and 2013.

The Liberty Theatre and Dixie Theatre shared a courtesy ad in the 1944 yearbook of the local high school, suggesting a common ownership at that time.

The first appearance of the Liberty in the Film Daily Yearbook is 1936. It was listed with 400 seats.

The only theater listed at Athens in the 1914-1915 American Motion Picture Directory was called the Armory Theatre, and it was also located on the west side of the square, but I’ve been unable to find an address. Trade journals mention a house called the Princess Theatre in 1921 and 1922. A 250-seat house called the Gem Theatre appears in the FDY in 1928, is listed as closed in the early 1930s, then vanishes. The Gem might have been a theater that opened in late 1925 or early 1926, as reported in the December 12, 1925 issue of Universal Weekly:

“THE Dorbandt Bros., well-known exhibitors in Texas will open their new house at Athens, Texas, within a very short time. They have recently purchased a Complete Service Contract [from Universal Pictures] for the new house.”
As reports of them don’t overlap, there is some possibility that the Armory, Princess, Gem, and Liberty all occupied the same building, sequentially.