Fort Worth, Texas – In an unexpected move that has caught some community leaders off-guard, a historic movie theater, a South Fort Worth relic from the 1940s, is slated for demolition to pave the way for a new health center.
The faith-driven healthcare organization Mercy Clinic is behind the project
The proposed plans for the iconic Berry Theater, nestled at 3031 Hemphill Street, have been orchestrated by Mercy Clinic. The faith-driven healthcare organization, which serves residents in the 76110 and 76104 postal regions, filed a permit for the demolition with the city of Fort Worth. This development, however, has evoked surprise among some quarters of the Hemphill community who were not privy to the plans.
According to historical transactions, the clinic acquired the theater in 2021 and had previously bought three adjoining lots in 2016, as evidenced by a report in the public domain. What stirs the pot further is that Mercy Clinic’s preliminary blueprint had implied the preservation of the theater while erecting the health center in the adjoining lot.
The opacity surrounding the decision has drawn the concern of Fernando Peralta, Chair of the Hemphill Corridor Development Collaborative. Peralta, caught unawares by the clinic’s intention to tear down the theater, voiced his curiosity about the sudden shift in plans.
“I am really sad to hear about that because that is an incredible building with a lot of history,” he said. “I hope they do reach out so we can help them inform the community about this.”
Previously christened the White Theater, the Berry Theater traces its roots back to the 1940s. An integral part of the local cultural fabric, it started featuring Spanish-language movies in 1962. This information comes from Cinema Treasures, an entity committed to preserving the heritage of movie theaters throughout the United States.
The Berry Theater has been listed five times as one of Fort Worth’s most endangered places, according to the historic preservation nonprofit Historic Fort Worth. The abandoned building has been closed for more than 35 years.