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Rialto Theater

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1922, W. C. Stephenson; 1936, John Eberson. 112–114 N. Washington St.

The Hall brothers' Rialto Theater, designed by Stephenson, was damaged by fire in 1935. Indicative of the ambition that Beeville's newfound oil and gas wealth fueled, Henry W. Hall commissioned New York City movie theater specialist John Eberson to reconstruct the interior and reface the street front of the building. The Rialto's exterior is most effervescent at sidewalk level. The interior is a different story, especially the auditorium with its lapis lazuli–colored and gilded Art Deco appliqué. The Rialto has been slated for rehabilitation by the Joe Barnhart Foundation as a performing arts center, with Gensler of Houston as architect.

North Washington Street, the main street of downtown Beeville, was built out between the 1890s and 1920s with several blocks of handsome storefronts. Despite experiencing the indignities to which American downtowns were subject in the second half of the twentieth century, Washington Street has remained intact. West on W. Bowie Street, a side street just off Washington, are two one-story brick buildings (c. 1908) at 207 and 211 W. Bowie Street that look like Jules Leffland tripartite facades. Notable buildings facing N. Washington Street include the handsome one-story Spanish Mediterranean–style retail building of c. 1930 at number 208. Across the street at 211 N. Washington Street is the Chittim Building (c. 1890) by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles.

At 303–305 N. Washington Street is the two-story Beasley Building (1929) by Page Brothers, its second-story parapet crowned with a painted tile plaque displaying a classical muse. Next door at number 307 is the tripartite facade of the two-story Beasley and Flournoy Building (1891) , built by lawyers J. C. Beasley and John W. Flournoy. The two-story brick commercial building at number 313–315 retains its early 1890s cast-iron store-front, which is marked “Alamo Iron Works, San Antonio, Texas.” Camp Ezzell, in his The Historical Story of Bee County, Texas (1973) , stated that in 1900 there were only eight brick buildings in Beeville, an indication both of the difference that arrival of the railroads made and of the town's isolation.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


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Gerald Moorhead et al., "Rialto Theater", [Beeville, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 506-506.

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