East Texas community comes together to save 102-year-old theater

MINEOLA, Texas (KLTV) – An east Texas community is coming together in a bid to save a piece of its downtown’s history.

In Mineola, the 102-year-old Lake Country Playhouse Historic Select Theater is in desperate need of repairs.

For over 100 years, the old theater has been an exciting destination for generations.

“He’s been an icon to everyone in Mineola and the surrounding area for many years,” said theater executive director George Jones.

“The popcorn, which pops when you walk in. Great feeling when you come to theater. It brings us all together,” said theater board member Cassandra Samson.

The theater’s fans are trying to raise enough money to save its iconic neon tower.

“The wooden structure and framework have rotted and the tower is on the verge of collapse. Sixty-eight thousand dollars is the goal,” Jones said.

The theater organized a family day to raise funds.

Many participated in this effort, growing up in the 50s and 60s and coming to theater as children. For them, it’s not just a building, but a part of who they are.

Cassandra Samson came to the theater as a child when she was still segregated.

“We had a side door that we had to enter through. We put our popcorn in it, then we went upstairs. When we saw that tower lit up, that was the best thing,” she said.

The theatre, originally built as an outdoor facility for vaudeville shows, is like an old friend to some.

“It’s the oldest continuously operating theater in Texas. It’s one of the last of its breed,” Jones said.

For the director Nelson Bond, it is an essential place.

“You can walk in and you know this place is historic. 100 years of entertainment has happened here, and it’s something you can smell in the air,” Bond said.

The event ended with a charity auction at the theater annex.

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