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Cliftex Theater

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1916; 1935; 2008 restored. 306 W. 5th St.

Claiming to be Texas’s oldest continually operating movie house, the Cliftex Theater still has its original 35mm film projector, but just for display, since it converted to digital projection in 2011. Wedged in a row of one-story brick commercial buildings, the theater has its original brick cornice and end pilasters, while the green and white marquee (with a Texas star at its center) dates to 1935, along with many Art Deco interior features. The ticket booth is at the center of the facade and flanked by recessed entrances.

In the alley between W. 3rd and W. 5th streets at 120 Clifton Art Alley, a 1930s two-cell concrete jail has been converted into a luxe, single-suite hotel(ette), The Cell Block. A full bath has been added, but the jail bars remain, along with an unusual roof deck.

Despite the hipped roof, the U.S. Post Office (1940, Louis A. Simon, Supervising Architect of the U.S. Treasury) at 407 W. 5th Street abandons all reference to historic styles with a modernist composition of wide brick piers and horizontal sash steel windows. Inside is Ila McAfee’s 1941 mural Texas Longhorns—A Vanishing Breed. It illustrates the early trail drives that passed through this area.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


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

Print Source

Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: East, North Central, Panhandle and South Plains, and West, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2019, 263-263.

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