THE AVALON PICTURE HOUSE - McLEAN
The Avalon Picture House was opened around 1930 but closed during the town's downturn in the mid-80s. Sadly despite several attemps to save it, the building is slowly collapsing and the latest plan only states that the actual frontage can now be saved, McLean's last theatre.
McLean, Texas, began life as a cattle loading site along the Road Island Railroad but in 1901 the first house was built and Arthur Rowe, an Englishman, saw a great opportunity for the area and donated land to build a small town.
In 1902 the town, now named McLean, grew rapidly and the first post office was opened and by the following year the town boasted 2 banks, 2 livery stables, 2 wagon yards, 2 cafes, a lumber yard, a furniture store and a newspaper called 'McLean News'.
Sadly Arthur Rowe, the town's founder, decided to return to England but never returned as he met his death on the Titanic returning to Texas. A legend states that he was found hugging his briefcase, frozen to death on the top of the iceberg and with this gold watch still ticking.
In 1927, the town became a popular stop on the famous Route 66 - 'The Mother Road' - bringing a golden age to McLean when, over the next few years, the town boasted 16 gas stations, 6 motels and numerous cafes and diners. By 1949 McLean had 6 churches, 59 businesses and a population of over 1500. However, despite many protests from the town, in 1984 McLean finally became the last Texan town to be bypassed by the new Interstate 40.
This new road spelt disaster for McLean and over the last few years the vast majority of the businesses have closed and the population halved. Today there is one diner, one restaurant, one gas station, one motel and a couple of shops. Despite this, the local population are determined to keep the town alive and show the real pioneer spirit.