Established in 1941.The Kessler was the last movie theater built in the U.S. before the country entered World War II. It has had a diverse history ranging from being owned by legendary Western film star Gene Autry, to being in a fire, and hit by the 1957 tornado. The current incarnation of The Kessler has been open a few short years and patrons love the design of the venue and the intimate setting with the musical artists. The Kessler Theater specializes in Live Music, Private Events, Art Openings, Great Food, Tasty Libations, and much more! The real cool history begins when Gene Autry gets out of the war and purchases properties owned by Mr. Dunbar,” Cabaniss says. “He became the owner in 1946 and operated it as a movie theater till the early 1950s. He then sold out to Robb & Rowley, which then sold to what became modern-day United Artists. And somewhere along the line, they decided they were going to shutter a lot of different theaters,” the Kessler among them. It would eventually become a revival tabernacle.
Much of the theater was destroyed in the ’57 tornado that swept through Dallas; the storm took off the top of the theater, as well as its back facade. Five years later, it was rebuilt as a church — only to once again face destruction courtesy a three-alarm fire that gutted the entirety of the inside.