Gem Theatre

713 Ohio Avenue,
Wichita Falls, TX 76301

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Interstate Theatres Inc. & Texas Consolidated Theaters Inc.

Nearby Theaters

Gem Theater entrance

The Gem Theatre was Wichita Fall’s first purpose-built movie theatre, opening October 25, 1910. It was located at 713 Ohio Avenue near the train station. A clipping in the collection of the Wichita County Historical Society describes an elaborate cooling system of interlocked ceiling fans.

By World War II, the Gem Theatre had been acquired by the Paramount-affiliated Interstate Circuit. By the 1950’s it had a “coloreds only” balcony, the African-American neighborhood being just a block north of the railroad tracks. The Gem Theatre was closed January 6, 1952. It was demolished in 1972.

Contributed by Randolph Man

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

WanderinBill on October 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

My great Grandfather William McIlheran once owned this theater. When he died in 1928 two of his sons took it over. My grandfather Robert (Bob) Mcilheran and his brother Aaron.

Nancylmcc on December 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

This theatre was owned by my grandfather, Aaron McIlheran, brother of Bob McIlheran. He is also credited with opening first movie theatre in Dallas in approx 1905.

LFWeidman on March 5, 2013 at 11:54 am

My great-grandfather, Joseph Weidman, and his brother, built the Gem originally.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 11, 2014 at 12:50 pm

The Gem suffered a fire in late 1928, and was then remodeled, according to this item from The Film Daily of January 23, 1929:

“Wichita Falls Gem Opens

“Wichita Falls, Tex.— The Gem, after a fire several weeks ago, has been remodeled and recently opened.”

amcilheran on November 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm

This theater was owned by my father Aaron and his brother. I wish to correct the statement that the theater became an all “colored” theater. It actually seated “whites” on the main floor and “colored” in the balcony as this was still in the time of segregation.

rivest266 on November 26, 2021 at 12:34 am

Grand opening ad posted.

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