OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A piece of Oklahoma history that is close to the hearts of many was torn down Tuesday morning. We’re talking about the Jewel Box Theatre in northwest Oklahoma City that was home to numerous shows over several decades.
A group gathered early Tuesday morning at the demolition site to watch a place they hold near and dear to their hearts be torn down.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s time,” said Chuck Tweed. A production director at the theatre for 41 years. “So, we’re here to say, well, my Lord, we’re here to say goodbye.”
“It’s been home, work, family since August of 1985,” said Jana Hester. A resident who also spent almost 4 decades around the theatre.
Tweed said the theatre that sat off I-235 and NW 36th Street originally opened in the 1950’s. He was in his role there for over 4 decades and Hester was there with him.
“Some theaters don’t necessarily have like a cohesive group,” Tweed said. “They have a group. But as you see with our family, it is just that.”
“This has been a home for us,” Hester said. “A place for us to play and work and contribute to the community and do things that we can do.”
Both of them are just two in the crowd of the roughly 20 people Tuesday morning that spent time there. Hester said she was originally a season ticket holder until Tweed encouraged her to jump into the theatre industry.
“Chuck called me one afternoon and he said, I need somebody to do props for my show,” Hester said. “And I said, Chuck, I really love the theater, but I don’t know. He goes can you make a list? A list I could do.”
From there, Hester’s husband ended up playing drums in one of their shows.
“From that time, we’ve belonged,” Hester said.
Both Hester and Tweed said they shared memories like that there that will last long after the building is gone.
“The family and the community, it’s here,” Hester said. “It’s all of these people. The building was just a symbol, a place for us to put it all together.”
“We were here for like the sold-out days when we had four weekends, 3000 season ticket people,” Tweed said. “It was nice to have that sold out thing and the memories.”
The theatre is still in operation at a new location. You can find the calendar here.
Tweed said the theatre was vacant for two years. The First Christian Church that everyone remembers by its egg-shaped dome was torn down in front of the theatre just last month.