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Heights Theater Antiques Closed


mkultra25

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Was walking the dog past the storefronts on 19th St. earlier tonight, and was dismayed to discover that Heights Theater Antiques had closed a couple of weeks ago. The marquee indicates the closure on March 19th, and as far as I could tell from looking into the dark building through the windows in the front doors, everything that was inside has been moved out ("everything" meaning the antiques - the former candy counter's still where it was before, in the front).

Anyone know anything about this? I'd hate to see that building vacant for very long, or, worse yet, remodeled without respect for its past history as a theater, but I imagine it may not be too easy to lease. There are other, much smaller spaces on 19th that haven't been leased despite being available for some time now.

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That's a shame. They had a number of interesting things there when I last visited. A section devoted to old stained-glass windows that I assume had been salvaged from old houses and churches. An enormous wooden structure that I think was described as an old telephone booth imported from a pub in Irleand. Another big wood set-up that I think was the counter and back shelves from an old apothecary shop or something similar.

Here's some building info/photos from an internet search:

"April, 1936. [That's probably the date of one of the Bailey photos] The Heights Theater was located ar 329 West 19th Street in the Houston Heights. The theater would seat 950. It was built in 1929 for Bob Wygant, Sr. by his father. Wygant operated this popular independent neighborhood theater until his death in 1951. Ticket prices were 5 cents for children and 15 cents for adults. Beset by the competitive power of the expanding theater chains, Wygant resorted to imaginative promotions to fill the seats. One memorable promotion involved a personal appearance by the awesome American Indian actor 'Iron Eyes' Cody. After Wygant's death, his son Richard operated the Heights Theater until it was sold in the late 1950's. Wygant's elder son, Bob Jr., is now a prominent Houston artist, with an international clientele and showings of his art in major galleries and major national invitational shows." From this site.

"A boy by the name of Torence Weygandt had the Heights Theater; he had a father, and I forget his first name, but he was quite a performer at trap shooting (shooting clay pigeons). He was very outstanding. Then there was another family of Weygandts out here in the Heights. I'm sure they were all somehow related. We were friends of the Weygandts, and young Weygandt, who owned this Heights Theater, passed away. He was treated at Heights Hospital by an orderly there. An old, old orderly." From this site.

"Betty had grown up in Houston, the youngest of four sisters. One of her uncles owned the Heights Theater, and another relative owned Lewis & Coker Grocery. Betty grew up in a household where her mother was quite active. In 1917, when a New York organizer came to Houston to organize the first chapter of Hadassah, the women's Zionist organization, Betty's mother became a charter member, and eventually served as president of the whole region." From OutSmart article re Betty Rudnick.

In 1993, GHPA awarded Sharon and Gus Kopriva, Robert Morris, Architect and J.V. Dougherty Construction a "good brick" award in connection with "the 1926 Heights Theater". From a 1993 Chronicle article: "Sharon and Gus Kopriva, for their restoration of the 1926 Heights Theater at 341 W. 19th St. They share the award with architect Robert Morris and J.V. Dougherty Construction Co. The theater was saved from demolition in the early 1980s by Morris and Jim Holland, whose Heights Theater Partnership bought it, restored the facade, then sold it to the Koprivas in 1989. Renovation has entailed a new roof, air conditioning, heating and electrical systems, and refurbished marquee and neon lights. The building has been removed from the Texas Historical Commission's Endangered Historical Properties list."

1996 Houston Press article mentioning a New Heights Theater production at the theater.

1995 Houston Press article about theater troupes that have used Heights Theater as a home.

1994 Houston Press article mentioning a theather troupe doing Macbeth and a Kafka adaptation at the theater.

1999 Chronicle article re use of theater building in the 90's.

Lengthy 1992 Chronicle article re writer's memories of films seen at the theater.

1991 Chronicle article re Heights centennial party at the theater building.

1991 Chronicle article re Heights centennial that mentions the theater.

1989 Chronicle article suggesting horror movies would be shown at the theater for Halloween.

1986 Chronicle article re the Heights that mentions the theater building.

Heights2Bastrop post on HAIF re Heights Theater sign.

Old photo of Heghts Theater.

Old photo of Heights Theater.

Old photo of Heights Theater (night).

Recent day photo of "Heights" sign.

Recent day photo of "Heights" sign.

Recent day photo of "Heights" sign.

Recent night photo of "Heights" sign.

B&W photo of "Heights" sign.

Color day photo of "Heights" sign.

Recent day photo of top of Heights Theater building.

heights2.jpg

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I believe it has been discussed before, and the conclusion was that it would become several galleries. Yes, there were a few cool things in there, but most of it was junk sold as souvenirs to people from the Woodlands that came down to stroll around and see "that old part of Houston", as if it were part of Epcot Center at Disneyworld. The "chic" stores and galleries on 19th seem to be doing quite well; I wouldn't be surprised if all the antique shops were relegated to the side streets within a few years.

I'd much rather see some new eclectic cafe/gallery combo places than the stores selling the shot glasses and thimbles that my grandmother used to collect on trips to Niagara Falls and Vegas.

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What a coincidence I had just passed by Saturday and from a distance it appeared as norm as pie. Personally, I thought it was way too overpriced. You can get the same stuff on the south side of town way less.

Now whats the deal with the dump next door? It looks very interesting from a distance but you can't even get inside its so crammed with yep, junk and thats weird coming from me becasue I love salvage places. A person can only walk in about 10 feet and thats it. Cat's yes humans nope. Too bad because some of the interesting items are buried beneath tons of stuff. :ph34r:

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I believe it has been discussed before, and the conclusion was that it would become several galleries. Yes, there were a few cool things in there, but most of it was junk sold as souvenirs to people from the Woodlands that came down to stroll around and see "that old part of Houston", as if it were part of Epcot Center at Disneyworld. The "chic" stores and galleries on 19th seem to be doing quite well; I wouldn't be surprised if all the antique shops were relegated to the side streets within a few years.

I'd much rather see some new eclectic cafe/gallery combo places than the stores selling the shot glasses and thimbles that my grandmother used to collect on trips to Niagara Falls and Vegas.

I have to agree. I hate to be the one to break to some people (sorry, Mom <_< ) but just b/c something is old doesn't make it "antique."

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Now whats the deal with the dump next door? It looks very interesting from a distance but you can't even get inside its so crammed with yep, junk and thats weird coming from me becasue I love salvage places. A person can only walk in about 10 feet and thats it. Cat's yes humans nope. Too bad because some of the interesting items are buried beneath tons of stuff. :ph34r:

That lot of junk has been there for as long as I can remember... and I know they are 'open' on the weekends so you can buy giant old junk B) I wanted to go in there when I was younger, but my mom always said no because she did not want me crushed by junk :angry2:

I would like the old theatre to go back to being a theater

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  • 1 year later...
  • 3 weeks later...
Now if only they could get liquor licenses over there... THEN we'd be looking at a "miniature Rice Village." But not till the booze starts a flowin'.

How great would it be to have one of these there? http://www.drafthouse.com/main/contact.php

If I had the money, I'd do it and host Saturday morning classic kid movies like Little Rascals, Shirley Temple, Three Stooges, Gremlins, Goonies and the like and sell dry cereal at the concession stand.

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How great would it be to have one of these there? http://www.drafthouse.com/main/contact.php

If I had the money, I'd do it and host Saturday morning classic kid movies like Little Rascals, Shirley Temple, Three Stooges, Gremlins, Goonies and the like and sell dry cereal at the concession stand.

Dude. I would be there EVERY SATURDAY MORNING. Holy crap.

Promise you'd show The Little Princess and Meatballs, too?

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Tmariar, was the original theater you speak of remodeled to become an art deco theater in 1934? The addresses are different, art deco theater listed in the Houston Architectural Guide (S. Fox) version, at 341 West 19th Ave., not 329 W. 19th St. - spanish style theater.

In 1993, GHPA awarded Sharon and Gus Kopriva, Robert Morris, Architect and J.V. Dougherty Construction a "good brick" award in connection with "the 1926 Heights Theater". From a 1993 Chronicle article: "Sharon and Gus Kopriva, for their restoration of the 1926 Heights Theater at 341 W. 19th St. They share the award with architect Robert Morris and J.V. Dougherty Construction Co. The theater was saved from demolition in the early 1980s by Morris and Jim Holland, whose Heights Theater Partnership bought it, restored the facade, then sold it to the Koprivas in 1989. Renovation has entailed a new roof, air conditioning, heating and electrical systems, and refurbished marquee and neon lights. The building has been removed from the Texas Historical Commission's Endangered Historical Properties list."

Nevermind, just found the answer in your post. Good lesson for me, addresses can change, just like street names.

Vertigo, I have an article somewhere about that rummage place next door. Trying to get organized to access it, bear with me. It's a great treasure hunting place, but you can't get to the stuff, all stacked up.

Edited by NenaE
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  • The title was changed to Heights Theater Antiques Closed

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