The landmark Jewel Theatre sign originally shined in Texas City before making the long journey to Humble. Now it marks the law offices of Patricia Garcia Billings. Photos by Tom Broad

The landmark Jewel Theatre sign originally shined in Texas City before making the long journey to Humble. Now it marks the law offices of Patricia Garcia Billings.

Movie posters add an historic and festive touch to the conference room in Patricia Billings’ building, including the ‘Willy Wonka’ movie poster placed there in honor of Humble Historian Dr. Robert Meaux, who recalled seeing the movie at The Jewel.

You may find the poster of one of your favorite movies lining the hallways and offices of Patricia Billings. All the posters displayed were movies that once were featured at The Jewel Theatre, now the Jewel Professional Building. Photos by Tom Broad

Billings moves law practice into building she loves

Jewel Theatre sign lights up Main Street once again

By Tom Broad

Tribune Correspondent

Remember when movie icon Marilyn Monroe sang, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend?”

Humble lawyer Patricia Billings has updated that old tune.

Diamonds may be terrific, but the Humble-area family lawyer is devoted to another kind of “jewel,” the Jewel Theatre on Main Street in Historic Downtown Humble.

“I discovered the story of the Jewel when I looked at the building before I bought it,” said Billings. “The more I dug into the history of that wonderful place, the more I fell in love with it. I love movies so, for me, it was a match made in heaven.”

Billings is a graduate of Loyola School of Law in New Orleans by way of Laredo, her hometown.

“I was raised in both Laredo and Nuevo Laredo until I was 19, when I joined the United States Navy, boot-camped in Great Lakes, Illinois and was stationed in Rota, Spain,” Billings said.

After meeting and marrying David Billings, she and her husband moved to New Orleans to raise three boys: Wayne, David and Jonathan.

“I started my career in New Orleans as a paralegal for Attorney Corwin Reed, my mentor and role model,” Billings said.

She eventually joined other law firms as a paralegal and law clerk before moving her family to Kingwood in 2008 and opening her own family law and probate law practice in the State Farm building on First Street in Humble.

Once she decided to move her law practice into The Jewel, Billings discovered a wealth of tales that give the old movie house its special charm.

“It seems that many locals have very fond memories of The Jewel,” Billings said. “Tommy Brooks gave me his tour of the theater and pointed out where the screen used to be. He showed me where a local girl who liked him kissed him and then ran away. I also heard from Dr. David Carpenter who took his dates to The Jewel. Dr. Robert Meaux told me about the movies he saw here.”

Meaux, a Houston native and Humble historian who is the driving force behind refurbishing and rebuilding the Humble Museum, wrote in The Tribune that The Jewel dates to 1912 when it was known as the Dixie Theatre and Roller-Skating Rink.

Billings’ building became The Jewel Theatre in 1947 when another movie theater in Texas City was damaged during a deadly industrial accident. The Jewel sign miraculously survived and was brought to Humble where, thanks to the efforts and enthusiasm of Billings, it glimmers today in Historic Downtown Humble.

In 2019, The Jewel Theatre has new life as The Jewel Professional Building. Billings’ law offices occupy the main floor, while several additional lawyers are officed on the second floor.

Billings recently held a lighting ceremony and open house in April serving snacks, drinks and snowcones to celebrate the relocation of her law practice and refurbishing of the sign.

“I appreciate that so many of my legal colleagues and Lake Houston business owners came by for the lighting ceremony. The photos are posted on my Facebook page,” said Billings.

Options for entertainment are growing in Lake Houston and especially in Humble. Music on Main features free concerts with local artists at Uptown Park near The Jewel on the second Friday of every month and the refurbished and refreshed Bender Performing Arts Center, the former Charles Bender High School, brings diverse live performers to The Bender Stage on weekends.

In the “works” is hosting Movies on Main, predicted Billings, and she believes a downtown farmers market would be “awesome.” To get the ball rolling, she’d like other business owners and professionals to join her in refurbishing and redeveloping Historic Downtown Humble to become a “go-to” destination for Lake Houston residents.

Thanks to its refurbished and glowing sign, the Jewel Theatre building has joined the Humble Water Tower and the Charles Bender Performing Arts Center as one of Humble’s most recognizable landmarks.

Billings plans to continue practicing family law in The Jewel for years to come.

“I’m very blessed to have built a strong law practice over the last nine years,” she said. “I’ll continue to build up my law practice, continue to be involved in the Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce, and hold quarterly Family Law Workshops to provide general family law information as a service to my community.”

Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend but, for Billings, her heart will always belong to the Jewel Theatre.

View the Jewel Theater’s iconic logo glowing away at 316 Main in Historic Downtown Humble. For more information about the Law Office of Patricia Garcia Billings housed in the Jewel Professional Building, visit lawofficeofpatriciabillings.com.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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