Gladys Air Dome Theatre in Palacios: Once common in America

Contributed photo

                 Gladys Theatres  
   In July 1912, Clifton McCoy Rhea and his family moved to Palacios. Rhea & Son first opened a moving picture show in the Clement building which was on Commerce Street.  
   After seeking approval from the City Council to build on Commerce Street, Mr. Rhea opened The Gladys Air Dome Theatre in 1913.    
   Mr. Rhea owned the theatre and named it after his daughter, Gladys. Popular silent motion pictures were shown.   
   The family lived in Palacios for a few years until they moved to San Antonio in 1915.   
   Unfortunately, the building is no longer standing.   
   It was possibly located between 5th and 6th Street on Commerce next to the Outrigger location.  
   The air dome theatres were common across the country during that era.   
   They were either under a tent similar to a circus tent or open air.   
   They were precursors to drive-in theaters.   
   It is possible that the “building” in the photo is only a façade for a tent or open air theatre behind it.  
   Pictures courtesy of City By the Museum in Palacios. Research and information courtesy of Katie Hutto, PAHA City By the Sea museum coordinator. 

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