I can’t believe that I’ve lived in Waco for 13 years and never seen a live show at the Waco Hippodrome – until last night. I’d never even stepped inside the Waco Hippodrome before. No reason really, just never had a chance to go inside.
I’m not much of a “theater” type person. Not to knock the performing arts; it’s just never been my cup of tea. Maybe I need to broaden my interests or something. Anyway, last night was the opening night for “Suessical”. Now, being a newer dad, I HAD to take the little one to her first live show. Which she really seemed to enjoy, until you know, the restlessness set in – not hers but MINE! Just kiddin’. I guess you can only expect a 17-month-old to sit still for so long. On a side note, the folks at the Hippodrome were very nice and accomodating. The show itself, was impressive. I was pleasantly surprised.
Sitting in my seat waiting for the show to start, I decided to get on my wife’s iPhone and surf the net looking for trivia about the Waco Hippodrome since we were there and I didn’t know much about it. Actually, I found some interesting facts (obtained from Cinematreasure.org):
- Built in 1913 as a vaudville showhouse by a group of Waco businessmen organized by Thomas P. Finnegan
- Grand opening was February 7, 1914
- Shows featured on opening night: Live seal act, magic show, and a five piece orchestra
- Used to be called “Hulsey’s Hipp”, after the manager, H.P. Hulsey
- Tickets were 10 cents for adults and five cents for children. Box seats were a whopping 25 cents!
- As the vaudville era was coming to an end, it became a silent movie theater
- As a silent movie theater, operated under the name “Hippodrome” as an affiliate of Paramount.
- A fire occured in 1928 destroying a lot of the building front
- The renovation after the fire resulted in the style (in front) you see today
- Reopened in 1929 with a new name – The Waco Theater
- The theater closed in the 1970s
- Remained vacant and unused until 1980 when the Junior League of Waco decided to take on the task of restoring the 67 year old theater.
- On February 28, 1987 The Waco Hippodrome reopened and is now on the National Registry of Historic Places
Waco Hippodrome Now – Courtesy of (CC) Larry D. Moore
Waco Hippodrome Then – Courtesy of Jennifer Warren
The Waco Hippodrome is currently operated by the Waco Performing Arts Alliance. If you’d like to see a show or two at the Hippodrome, here’s a link to a list of upcoming events: Hippodrome upcoming shows.
The Waco Hippodrome:
724 Austin Ave.
Waco, TX 76701
Also, if you’d like to rent the Hippodrome for a special occasion, call the number above for more information.