KILGORE/GREGG COUNTY (KYTX) - The Crim Theater opened on Kilgore Street in 1938. Five years later, the Texan Theater opened across the street.
They were the movie houses for those who worked in the East Texas oil field. But for decades, the doors were locked.
Tax foreclosures placed the buildings into local governments' hands in 1987. Rather than keep the theaters locked up, the city and its Main Street Advisory Board held fundraisers. In October, a Halloween event called Thea-Terror raised about $18,000.
The Main Street Advisory Board wants to renovate the Crim and Texan into the centerpiece of a downtown entertainment district. It could accommodate anything from a place for actors to train and produce shows -- to a place to hold the Texas Shakespeare Festival shows to community meeting places and live music venues.
Gregg County was part-owner of the theaters until Thursday, when commissioners gave up their interest in the properties. New state statutes allow the county to relinquish property if it serves the public good.