Since the opening of Jones Hall in 1966, millions of arts patrons have enjoyed countless stage and musical performances at the venue, located at 615 Louisiana Street in downtown Houston.
Dominating an entire city block, Jones Hall is stunning with its curving travertine marble facade, an exterior rectangle of eight-story columns, and a brilliantly lit grand entrance. The classically elegant interior dazzles visitors.
Jones Hall is a monument to the memory of Jesse Holman Jones, a towering figure in Houston during the first half of the 20th century. A key player in FDR's cabinet during America's recovery from the Great Depression, Jones was also a builder in Houston. At one point, he could count 35 buildings he added to the City's skyline. He also owned the Houston Chronicle and was also a prime mover in the dredging of the Houston Ship Channel.
Before his death in 1956, it was Jones' expressed wish to see that Houston had a new opera house. Jones Hall would become his lasting gift to the City. Jones Hall was built on the same location as its predecessor, the old City Auditorium, which was demolished in the summer of 1963. Construction of the new facility began in January 1964. The entire $7.4 million construction tab was paid for by Houston Endowment Inc., a foundation established by the building's namesake. Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts was accepted as a gift to the City in civic ceremonies on October 2, 1966.
Brilliant planning by the building architects offers unparalleled versatility, enabling Jones Hall to accommodate several art forms. Overhead, 800 hexagons create a moveable marvel that can be raised or lowered to regroup volumes, alter the physical circumstances of a room, and manipulate acoustics. The auditorium can literally shrink from 2,912 seats to 2,300. The ambience of the hall is enhanced with its vibrant red velvet seating, golden teak walls and a sweeping loge that seems to reach for the stage.
Upon entering the building, visitors will notice the "Gemini II" sculpture hovering just below the lobby ceiling. Commissioned by the Houston Endowment, Gemini II resembles shooting stars as it pays homage to the hall's performers and acknowledges Houston's role in space exploration.
Outside, Jones Hall is just as beautiful , with its curving marble walls and a rectangle of columns. In 1967, Jones Hall won the American Institute of Architects' Honor Award, a national award bestowed on only one building annually. Caudill Rowlett Scott was the architectural firm.
Today, Jones Hall is home to Houston Symphony and the Society for the Performing Arts. More than 400,000 visitors attend some 250 events annually.
JESSE HOLMAN JONES (1874 - 1956)
Jesse Jones's legacy of service endures today through his lifelong contributions to the common good.
As early Houston's foremost builder, as Chairman of the National Bank of Commerce, and as publisher of the Houston Chronicle, Jesse Jones inspired the city to grow toward the sky and beyond its small town borders.
As the first Chairman of the Houston Harbor Board, he led the effort to complete the Houston Ship Channel. As Chairman of the federal government's Reconstruction Finance Corporation, he stimulated economic recovery during the Great Depression and, later, as Secretary of Commerce, helped prepare the nation and its allies for global defense during World War II.
As philanthropists, he and his wife, Mary Gibbs Jones, shared their wealth to cultivate a vibrant community for all.