The Kay Theater

The Kay Theater (HM1EVP)

Location: Rockdale, TX 76567 Milam County
Country: United States of America

N 30° 39.428', W 97° 0.129'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
In 1947, E.L. Bryan and the Foy Arrington family bought a surplus quonset hut, one of the thousands ot the all-purpose metal buildings made during World War II. The hut was moved to Rockdale to become the core of the second movie theater in town. Local carpenter Jack Kyle, Sr. directed cseveral Rockdale high school students to build the sloping concrete floor and facade for the streamline moderne-style theater, named for the Arringtons' daughter, Katherine. A half-cylinder of corrugated steel sheets forms the walls and roof. The entry includes a stepped plaster wall outlined in neon, and entry drum of plaster and glass blocks, paired double doors, a central sigh and large letters spelling K-A-Y on each side of the rotunda.

The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Foy Arrington, said the quonset hut architecture "Lends itself naturally to excellent acoustics and a pleasing interior appearance." Construction of the Kay Theater was completed in time for a Thanksgiving 1947 opening. At a dedication ceremony the next night, postmaster Clyde Franklin was master of ceremonies and Mayor J.B. Newton introduced "Rolling Home," starring Russell Hayden, Jean Parker and Raymond Hatton. Large box fans made the theater one of the few air conditioned locations in town. Mr. Arrington manned the ticket booth and was the projectionist, and his wife managed the concessions. As with similar facilities at the time, African American patrons walked upstairs to separate balcony seating. The Kay Theater closed in 1962 and was vacant for many years before restoration began in 2004 through the Kay Theater Foundation. Today, the last remaining theater in Milam County recalls a time when going to the movies was a cultural event and central to the social life of many young people.

Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2013
Year Placed2013
Placed ByTexas Historical Commission
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, October 11th, 2014 at 4:19am PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14R E 691424 N 3393306
Decimal Degrees30.65713333, -97.00215000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 30° 39.428', W 97° 0.129'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds30° 39' 25.68" N, 97° 0' 7.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)512
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 300-398 N Main St, Rockdale TX 76567, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. This marker needs at least one picture.
  9. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  10. Is the marker in the median?