Houston Deco: Houston's Modernistic Architecture

2922 S. Shepherd Drive
Historic name: Alabama Theater
Recently: Trader Joe's
Completed: 1939
Architects: Pettigrew & Worley (Dallas)

City of Houston Landmark

The Alabama stopped showing movies in 1983 and the building reopened the following year as Bookstop after a restoration and adaptation designed by Judith Urrutia and Billy Lawrence of San Antonio.

The most recent tenant in the Alabama space was Bookstop, which closed in 2009 after owners Barnes & Noble moved to a new store built on the site of the River Oaks Shopping Center. Weingarten Realty Investors, the property owner, demolished the screen wall and destroyed the auditorium murals in 2011 during work meant to attract a new tenant to the vacant theater space.

In 2012, specialty grocer Trader Joe's opened in the former theater space. Although the building's exterior was restored, only the central ceiling medallions, some light fixtures and a portion of the balcony were retained in the auditorium.

above | façade, 2006
detail (top) | façade, 1939
detail (center) | auditorium, 2007
detail (bottom) | pylon sign, 2004

Photo by Jim Parsons

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