Save Our Simon is a non-profit community campaign
to develop the Barnhill Center at historic Simon Theatre,
into an economic engine for the future of Brenham.

The 1925 Simon Theatre in the Beaux Arts Classical Revival Style has been beautifully restored into a 330 seat capacity Hasskarl Auditorium theatre with a center aisle and a Bullock Ballroom on the second floor with a capacity of 220. The Barnhill Center will host conventions, meetings, live music, receptions, as well as classic and independent films.

Visit our Facebook Page for pictures of the restoration and recent events at the Barnhill Center.

The SOS Mission

The mission of this campaign is to restore the Simon Theatre property into the Barnhill Center,  a multi-use conference center and event facility.  The Simon Center will focus on events that attract out-of-town meeting delegates along with leisure visitors. 

One of the growing industries in Washington County is tourism.  It is a clean industry that has enlivened our economy.  It brings outside dollars into the county that ripple out to businesses both directly and indirectly related to tourism.

Because of Brenham’s proximity to Houston and the increasing cost of car travel/gasoline, we believe this community is well positioned to receive a larger share of the travel & tourism dollars that in the past have gone beyond Brenham to the Texas Hill Country.  The chief obstacle to our ability to capture more tourism dollars is the lack of convention and meeting facilities.   

For decades, our civic leaders have discussed the need for a full-scale convention center in Brenham.  However, such a facility is simply not feasible at the present time.  The plan for the Simon Center is feasible now, and it can bridge the gap between having no facilities at all and having a large convention center.  It can bring meetings and small conventions to this area that have previously bypassed us for lack of proper facilities.  These meetings can populate our hotels, motels, shops and restaurants with visitors who might not otherwise come to Washington County.  The Simon Center can generate needed revenue during times when there is excess capacity for lodging in the area. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here to read some frequently asked questions that people have about this campaign.  Simon FAQ

Our Vision and Goals

The primary, unique feature of the Simon Center will be the plush, restored movie theatre, which will serve as an auditorium for meetings and conferences.  The center will include over 6,000 square-feet (estimated) of meeting space including a large ballroom on the second floor, the theatre, a balcony area, and three meetings rooms on the first floor.  In addition, the first floor will showcase an attractive lobby and a new Visitor Information Center to serve visitors in downtown Brenham.

Click here to see more pictures of the Simon Theatre.      For more pictures please visit the Facebook Page  

A recent news story from KBTX in Bryan-College Station can be viewed here.

The principal goal of the Simon Center is to be a vital, proactive force for continued economic development in Washington County. The strategy is to develop and operate a unique meeting facility that will attract a variety of corporate and trade association meetings that have previously bypassed Brenham, boosting the local tourism industry and lodging occupancy rates.


In addition, the Simon Center will provide a new home for a wide range of community events and activities to be enjoyed by people of all ages.  Programming will include the presentation of events by facility renters, along with a variety of activities that will be produced in-house by staff and volunteers.

This approach will ensure that the Simon Center is actively used and programmed with the goal of attracting as many people as possible to the Brenham area for business and leisure purposes. 

Specific goals include the following:

  • To develop the Simon Center as an “economic engine” for the entire community.
  • To have a positive economic impact by attracting corporate and association meetings.
  • To restore the building to its original architectural design and preserve it for the future.
  • To attract more visitors downtown and boost the local tourism industry.
  • To provide a Visitor Information Center in the heart of downtown.
  • To support the development of local service businesses that will cater to visiting business groups and meeting delegates.
  • To present unique entertainment opportunities - including classic films, film festivals, and a variety of consumer shows.
  • To provide educational opportunities for performing arts students.
  • To provide a new, unique facility for local residents and organizations for special events.

The development and operation of the Simon Center will result in a new chapter in the history of Brenham.  Once opened and professionally operated, the Simon Center will serve as an engine for economic development, community enrichment, and the growth of local culture and family entertainment.

How Much Will All of This Cost?

The budget for this campaign includes not only construction/restoration costs, but also all required pre-opening expenses such as furnishings, fixtures, equipment, box office supplies, administrative expenses, marketing materials and operating reserves.  The total is $7.6 million.  The campaign has already raised 5.2 million from community support.  The balance will be pursued from historic tax credits, foundations and corporate grants.

Please Help Us Reach This Goal

The campaign needs the support of the entire community for the Simon Center to become a reality.  You can join the cast and play a supporting role in the future of the economic development of Brenham.  Your gift will make an impact on the community not only today, but well into the future.  Please click here to read more about how you can contribute to this great campaign. Thank you in advance for your support!