Perot Theater, Texarkana
This wonderful old historic building used to be the Saenger Theatre which first opened in November 1924. The building took 17 months to construct and because its location to the busy railway station, it attracted such performers as Annie Oakley, Maurice Barrymore, Will Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks. It was used for shows, reviews and silent movies. A large pipe organ with hundreds of pipes was housed in two organ lofts to play through the silent film era. The theatre was purchased by the Paramount-Publix Corporation in 1931 and began screening films and live productions.
In the 1960's the theater went into decline and played only 2nd and 3rd run movies until its closing in 1977. The theater was seen to be worth restoring for historical purposes and was purchased by the city in 1977 for $19,000 (with appraisal for $154,000). Early funding came from various sources and the money raised was matched by H. Ross Perot, himself a Texarkana native who made his fortune in electronics in Dallas. In 1979, Perot contributed $800,000 for the restoration in memory of his parents and in recognition for his contribution, the city named the theater the Perot Theater.
The theater reopened in 1981 and is a national and state historical landmark as well as being placed on the National Register of Historic Places.