JESSE H. JONES HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
JESSE H. JONES HALL FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS. On June 1, 1962, John T. Jones, Jr., the nephew of Jesse Holman Jones,qv announced that Houston Endowment, Incorporated, had offered to underwrite the construction costs for a performing arts hall in Houston. The Houston Endowment, a charitable foundation endowed by Jesse H. Jones and his wife, Mary Gibbs Jones, for the purpose of supporting charitable, educational, or religious undertakings, made possible the establishment of a permanent home for the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Grand Opera Association, and the Houston Ballet Foundation.
The city council of Houston passed an ordinance accepting the offer made by John Jones on June 6, 1962, and, on December 4, 1962, the council passed an ordinance officially naming the prospective building the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts. On January 10, 1964, groundbreaking for the building took place. On October 20, 1965, the cornerstone was laid, and on October 2, 1966, the building became the property of the city of Houston. In 1967 the American Institute of Architects awarded the facility its Honor Award.
The site for the building was provided by thecity, and the total construction cost was $7.4 million. The building occupied a full city block and consisted of a grand lobby decorated with sculpture by Richard Lippold, a minor lobby, and the main hall, which seated 2,912 and was renowned for its acoustics. A counter-weighted ceiling had panels that could be lowered to reduce seating capacity to 2,304. The stage measured 55 feet by 120 feet, the largest in the city in 1968. Other facilities included a room for performing artists to entertain friends and press, a rehearsal room, and offices for the administrative staff. The hall is renowned for fine acoustics.
In 1993 Jones Hall closed for several months to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. In 2011 Jones Hall remained the resident performance hall for the Houston Symphony and the Society for the Performing Arts and hosted some 250 events annually. Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet Foundation moved to the Wortham Theater Center in 1987.
Jones Hall for the Performing Arts (http://www.houstonfirsttheaters.com/JonesHall.aspx), accessed October 20, 2011.