Heritage, Volume 13, Number 3, Summer 1995 Page: 8
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Pictured above is one of the restored interior rooms of the Aztec Theater in Albany. The support of many generous individuals and organizations contributed to the
successful restoration. The Texas Historical Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant to the Aztec project in 1991. Photograph by Clifton Caldwell.
senting many facets of community life in
Albany. Joining the group was a rancher
and oil man, pharmacist, lawyer, banker,
CPA, independent insurance agent, and
a full-time mother and civic volunteer.
The building owners provided the missing
link by giving the building to the new
organization. Bill Booziotis, Fellow,
American Institute of Architects, from
Dallas, who had family ties in Albany,
agreed to supervise his then architectural
intern Amy Wingrove in developing plans
for the restoration of the Aztec. The board
decided to complete the work in two
Phase One of the work enlarged the
stage, restored the exterior facade, doors,
ticket window, and lighting. More than
100 local volunteers helped to cut initial
costs by doing much of the site cleanup, the
removal of the old stage, and general interior
cleaning. The work was completed at a
cost of $85,000 in time for the Albany
Nativity to be performed there in December
1991. The Texas Historical Foundation
assisted early on with a $5,000 grant
from the Jeanne R. Blocker Memorial Preservation
Fund used to encourage preservation
in rural areas.
In the spring of 1992, the second and
much more extensive phase began. It in
cluded raising funds, restoration of the theater
interior, construction of new restrooms,
dressing rooms and storage, and of a new
lobby extension. Additionally, the balcony
that once had been the "colored section"
became the tech room. Golden stars were
repainted on the ceiling. Beautiful new
shades of sand, maroon, blue, and green
were carefully incorporated throughout by
Ann Law Harwood, Albany native and
now a Fort Worth interior decorator. She
contributed her services to the project and,
(THE TOWN OF) ALBANY HAS DEMONSTRATED
A LONG HISTORY Of
EYERYONE PITCHING IN ON THE LIYEL
THAT THEY CAN AffORD. THESE
TRADITIONS PLUS A SIN(ERE PRIDE IN
COMMUNITY HAVE CREATED A TOWN
THAT HAS ACCOMPLISHED GRAND
THINGS AND SURPRISES PEOPLE WHO
assisted by her teenage daughter, even repainted
the six desert scenes for the faux
The lobby extension adjoins just south
of the old theater on what had been a
vacant lot. Kitchen facilities and handicap
entrance with restrooms complete the
new addition. This summer a landscaped
terrace was built behind the extension. It
is the first new construction on Albany's
Main Street in 20 years and has opened to
rave reviews from local citizens and visitors.
When the beautiful building restoration
was finished, the Board agreed that the
old seats looked badly out of place. Everyone
was given an opportunity to put their
name on a newly refurbished seat for $100,
although that was slightly under the cost of
refinishing the old wooden seats. The Albany
News ran several stories entitled, "Take
a Seat", and within a short time all 285
The restoration of the Aztec was a monumental
accomplishment made easier by
the support of many generous people and
organizations. Everyone in Albany would
agree that at 96 years of age, Watt Matthews
has been Albany's bellwether in setting the
big goals and achieving them. As for the
fundraising, Matthews led the way with a
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 13, Number 3, Summer 1995, periodical, Summer 1995; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45409/m1/8/: accessed December 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.