History of the Majestic Building

The new Greater Majestic Theatre and Building opened on Houston Street June 14, 1929 amid great celebration. It was designed by architect John Eberson, whose trademark was 'the atmospheric theatre", and built by Karl Hoblitzelle for a price of $3,000,000.00. Hoblitzelle, the head of the Interstate Theater Company, brought vaudeville shows and silent and talking movies to the southwestern United States in the early 1900s. He built Interstate into one of the largest motion picture chains in the Southwest. The most elaborate of Eberson's theatres, the Majestic created an atmosphere wherein patrons felt they were seated within a Spanish courtyard. In order to establish a compelling entrance to the theatre, Eberson designed an elaborate canopy of cast iron and copper over the front of the building extending across the sidewalk to Houston Street. This canopy also provided an upper level balcony for an outdoor café or tea room. The Majestic Building itself is a 20 story brick and stone building topped by a three story, 3,500 square foot Penthouse apartment which Karl Hoblitzelle occupied when he came to San Antonio for business. The façade of the building is faced in stone through the fourth story, with the piers of the façade ending in gothic weatherings. The rooftop of the Majestic is gothic in architecture and quite ornamental. There are high slate roofed cupolas over each end bay. The edge of the roof wall has a small baroque arch and finial over each pier. The slender building lent itself beautifully for conversion into apartments, as many of the units have north, south, and either east or west views. The Theater and Building have been beautifully restored and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

History of the Brady Building

The Brady building was built in 1914 on the site of the 1879 Turnverien Association Opera House. Thomas Brady had acquired the land in 1890, but in 1914 built a "new" Empire Theatre inside an office tower he named the Brady Building. The Empire Theatre, which opened December 14, 1914, was "the first modern theatre of San Antonio", and the City's largest at the time, with electric lighting, fans, and motorized stage equipment. The Empire's interior was plush and elegant, with gold gilding. The auditorium penetrates four floors of the 10 story masonry and brick Brady building which provided office space for many of the oldest companies in San Antonio for more than eight decades. A good example of early twentieth century San Antonio commercial architecture, the windows of the second floor are recessed behind unusually shaped angular arches. The spandrel between the second and third floors is decorated with shields (eagles in the center) and dentils. The parapet is ornamental with carved geometric ornament and an arcade pierced with round arches. The high ceilings, oversized windows, and L-shape of the building made it ideal for renovation from offices to apartments. The Theater and Building have been beautifully restored and are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Majestic Building in 1929

Majestic Building Today

Brady Building in 1914

Brady Building Today

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