The long derelict 25th St. Theatre is destined to pass into history.
With the ongoing deterioration of the Theatre by the elements and the incessant plundering of the facility by vandals and thieves, the building has passed the point of being redeemable for restoration. In fiscal reality, that point-of-no-return has passed. There was still an undercurrent of deeply committed people that kept efforts alive to raise interest and funding to restore the iconic Theatre, but the sheer enormity of the costs involved make that vision impossible to achieve with private sector efforts alone.
The co-owners of the Theatre; The Texas Museum of Theatre & Broadcast and the Richard Olsen family were approached by the City of Waco. The City and Waco Fire Department see the need for a new fire station and training facility in the Sanger Heights Neighborhood.
It is the decision of the owners that the property can best serve the City of Waco in general and specifically the Sanger Heights Neighborhood with the proposed new fire station and training facility. In that spirit the current owners have entered into an agreement to convey the property to the City for redevelopment.
What has not been visible are the behind the scenes efforts of The Museum and supporters of the 25th St. Theatre restoration vision dating back as far as 2004. Just two examples of this has been the acquisition of identical replacement projection equipment and the restoration of vintage seating that has been accomplished. These acquisitions will now be made available for restoration projects of other vintage theatres.
It is also the desire of The Museum to, if possible, remove and preserve the vertical sign and marquee from the Theatre for posterity. The history of the 25th St. Theatre will be documented and preserved by The Texas Museum of Theatre & Broadcast at its main facility at 300 South Main St., McGregor, Texas.