The Lakewood Theater
The Lakewood Theater (link) in Dallas, Texas was built in 1938 at the tail end of the Great Depression.
At the opening ceremony on Oct. 27, 1938, the Dallas Morning News lauded the theater’s cutting edge RCA sound equipment, the first air-conditioning system for a theater in Dallas, and the upholstered auditorium seating. It reported the tower “rises 100 feet and carries 7,000 watts of power for illumination.” The 1,100-seat theater cost $125,000 to build.
The opening movie was “Love Finds Andy Hardy” featuring Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.
The theater’s owner built the Lakewood Theater as a neighborhood theater where family-friendly films would be shown and Lakewood families have visited the theater now for nearly 8 decades.
Over the years the Lakewood Theater has gone through several ownership changes but the façade and the iconic, lighted tower remain as a fixture to Lakewood.The theater has served as not only a single screen movie theater but also a meeting hall, a private dining venue, a desired wedding and reception hall and most recently as a burlesque theater, hosting Rocky Horror Picture Shows.This last fact is particularly interesting since the theater was initially dreamt up as a family-friendly venue.
In January 2015 the last tenant moved out and the current owners are trying to find a replacement tenant that would continue the tradition of keeping the theater as a movie-house.The City of Dallas Landmark Commission has also stepped in and initiated a historic designation for the theater in the summer of 2015 amid concerns that the theater could be razed.Currently, the building is getting an interior facelift to remediate some asbestos and to prepare for the next tenants, whomever they are.But the current owners assure the Lakewood community that the theater will not be torn down.They state that their primary goal is to find a tenant like an Alamo Drafthouse to keep the theater as it was designed.
With the pending historic designation and continued development in the Lakewood and White Rock Lake areas, the Lakewood Theater and its famous lighted tower looks to be a permanent fixture in the Lakewood area for years to come.