Lakewood Theater night

The Lakewood Theater — the building City Councilman Philip Kingston calls “the soul of East Dallas” — is now a protected landmark.

The Dallas City Council unanimously voted to bestow the building with landmark status this afternoon, meaning the original tower that defines the skyline in Lakewood is now protected. The protections also extend to the historic murals painted by artist Perry Nichols, a 1929 Woodrow Wilson grad and a member of the famed “Dallas Nine.” The status allows the owners to rent out space inside the theater to tenants as well.

Co-owner Craig Kinney told the council that he is pleased the building he bought in 2007 is finally being recognized for what it is. “This is an iconic building that has been a landmark for decades.”

Kingston, who made the motion to approve the status, praised the residents, the theater owners and city officials for making the process easy.  Kingston says he has “not seen even a peep of criticism” for the project.

Veletta Forsythe-Lill, a former City Council member, was one of several residents who came out to voice their support.

“This site is important to our community,” she says. Forsythe-Lill added that, while the building can no longer be used as a theater, the structure still has value because of the craftsmanship it displays. “It remains the touchstone of our community.”

No one at the meeting spoke against making the theater a landmark. The theater was built in 1938.