The Heart of
Enticed by neon gas flowing through sculpted glass tubes and flickering lights racing along with rapidity, we’re compelled to this corner along Texas Avenue. Where dusty westerns galloped into the sunset, Sci-Fi’s pushed futurism, horror flicks lurked in the shadows, and classics made our hearts sing. All manner of dramas played out in front of our eyes and we sat there mesmerized, in the hushed darkness together. As the seasons slip away, these memories grow dimmer and yet more cherished. This place was the Brunson. This place was our friend.
On August 23, 1949 the beautiful movie palace known as the Brunson Theater opened its doors to the public for the first time, marking itself as the heart of Baytown’s historic Texas Avenue. For the next 34 years, the theater would host Saturday Kiddie Shows, sell its signature pickle juice to thousands, host Hollywood style premieres featuring movie stars, orchestrate meticulously designed confection counter displays, and so much more. Howard E. Brunson ensured that no other movie palace in the Texas Gulf Coast could match the grandeur of the Brunson Theater. Rufus Honeycutt, the manager of the theater, ensured that moviegoers enjoyed their movie-going adventure.
The Brunson Today
After 35 years sitting empty, the Brunson Theater is now the home of the Baytown Visitor Information Center. The newly renovated building boasts a modern design with a host of features that pay homage to the past. For instance when you enter the building, you are welcomed by a large circular red seating area similar to the one that greeted moviegoers in the 1950s. Unfortunately the original terrazzo flooring was beyond repair, but the city succeeded in creating a historically accurate reproduction of the red and tan rays radiating from the green sun in the center. On the outside of the building, a new 50-foot sign hangs from the façade beckoning for the community to once again dawn the doors of the Brunson Theater.
When visitors cross the threshold of the Brunson today, a smiling face will be waiting to greet them and share information about the wide array of events, attractions, hotels and eateries that Baytown has to offer. The Brunson also hosts a variety of information on things to do around the Greater Houston Area as our Tourism Division is a partner of the Around Houston co-op featuring 13 regional city partners. The Brunson Theater Visitor Information Center is your one-stop-shop to find out everything you need to know for fun, relaxation, excitement, date night, staycation, and more.
Come see the HEART of Baytown!
The documentary "When the Lights Went Down" highlighting the history of the Brunson Theater, premiered August 23 at the Grand Re-opening of the iconic building. The documentary is now on the film festival circuit but visitors will be able to see the documentary in its entirety playing in the lobby of the Visitor Information Center soon.
Check out the film's trailer!
ABC Channel 13 Houston paid a visit to the Brunson Theater during the renovation of the historic building and chatted with Anna Yowell, Tourism Coordinator and Sheree Cardwell, Tourism Marketing Specialist about the building and the future plans for the Visitor Information Center.
Other Baytown HTX+ features can be found HERE >>>