The Brauntex Theatre first opened in downtown New Braunfels in January 1942. Pearl Harbor had just been bombed, and the United States was at war. Harold Ward was a manager of the Theatre during the 1950s. Other past employees included Chris Mosley, also a manager, and Florie Bush. Mr. Ward reports that there were other theaters in operation in New Braunfels at the time, but once the state-of-the-art Brauntex opened, it was the best. A major fire in one of the other downtown theaters, the Palace, either just before or just after the Brauntex opened, made the new theater an even more welcome addition to the city.
During Mr. Ward's tenure as manager, the Griffith Company owned the Brauntex. The Theater design was copied from an earlier Griffith theater in Chickasaw, Oklahoma -- the Washita Theater. The old theater was an important part of downtown New Braunfels for fifty years. Mr. Ward recalls many highlights of the early movie operations such as the time that Mr. Pedro Gonzalez. Gonzalez appeared while filming the John Wayne classic, The Alamo. The theater was integrated during Mr. Ward's watch, but he doesn't remember any problems. "We just did it and that was that." After integration patrons could sit anywhere in the theater for 40 cents upstairs or 50 cents downstairs.
It operated as such until the late 1990s. In 1999, a group of community leaders and arts advocates purchased the vacant theatre with plans to turn it into a performing arts venue to serve the arts and cultural needs of the area. Since the Association’s founding in 1999, the organization has been dedicated to updating and renovating the facilities to make it’s a first class venue that is safe and easy to enjoy. Over one million dollars in contributions, services, and grants have been used to re-model and refurbish the Brauntex to the facility it is today. From 2002 to 2012, several renovations have taken place such as: re-modeling the lobby, replacing every seat in the theatre, and adding a 1,200 square foot attached dressing room.
The dream of the Brauntex becoming a first-class performing arts venue has been achieved. Since these improvements, there has been a dramatic increase in theatre usage and strong growth in audience base. The Brauntex currently serves over 14,000 patrons year round, which includes patrons attending shows put on by other local arts organizations.