A long hidden gem is coming back to life when the historic Haltom Theater reopens on New Years Eve with a concert from the well-known band Metal Shop.
In its heyday, the theater at 5601 East Belknap was the place to go in northeast Tarrant for concerts and movies, and it will once again be the place to go for events from professional wrestling to private screenings from local filmmakers. There will be movies and concerts as well, beginning with Metal Shop, and on Jan. 4, local guitarist Buddy Whittington will perform. On Feb. 22, Joe Ely will play at the historic venue.
“Being able to relaunch the theater on New Year’s Eve, we realize that we need to pay homage to its past while we tap into the future. That is our purpose — to take this (the theater) and bring it back to life,” said Chaz Buchannan, who is working with business partners to restore the theater.
Buchannan said he and his partners put about a half-million dollars into renovations; the paving work outside is almost finished, he said.
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Besides the entertainment, there’ll be a full bar and a buffet-style restaurant featuring a home-style menu along with a salad bar for those seeking healthier options.
The Haltom Theater first opened on Dec. 7, 1941, the same day that Pearl Harbor was bombed, and it operated until the 1970s when Sam’s Furniture and Video moved into the building and remained until 2000.
The building was vacant until Buchannan found it. He recalled looking for an old theater to renovate in Dallas, but when he found the Haltom Theater, he knew that was the right place.
Reviving the theater
Located about four miles northeast of downtown Fort Worth, Haltom City is dissected by a number of major highways, including U.S. 377, Loop 820, Texas 121 and the North Tarrant Express. The population is about 44,000, but more growth is coming thanks to completion of the North Tarrant Express.
Two hotels are under construction, and new homes and luxury apartments are being built in the High Pointe subdivision at Haltom Road and North Loop 820.
Bringing back a piece of Haltom City’s history is important to Buchannan and his friends, who are eager to seeing reactions from people in their 20s who only remember a vacant building.
“There are so many stories and memories associated with this place, like people remembering having their first date or getting their first kiss in the theater,” he said.