Raven Performing Arts Center

115 North Street,
Healdsburg, CA 95448

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terrywade on February 18, 2018 at 7:16 pm

Was up in Healdsburg for the first time this past Friday afternoon and visited this former movie theatre now open for live events. A nice lady let me come in to check out the place. Still in good shape and they kept a great art deco light fixture on the ceiling of the lobby. This light would look so hot with Blue LED’s inside in place of white lights. I think It had color lights when It ran as a movie theatre. Time for them to get a fund going to put some color deco side lights on the side walls in as the original ones are long gone. Hope they can show some classic movies also. Check the theatre out If you are in town and see a event.

Mikeyisirish on July 9, 2013 at 6:59 pm

When I visited this theater last year, the neon bird want entirely functional, so I didn’t bother to shoot it. Anyone know if it’s been fixed?

imrobert on July 9, 2013 at 4:55 pm

I grew up in the Aven and remember the Plaza Theater after it had closed. The Analy Theater in Sebastopol (now gone) was also very similar to the Aven and I assume had the same designer.

korvettekid on June 7, 2012 at 9:37 am

carol…thanks for the reply. if you are ever in the neighborhood feel free to stop by. if you have any old pics of the place i would greatly appreciate if you could send them my way. feel free to contact me at any time. thanks again for the info. email me at… thanks again…kevin

CarolSantocono on June 6, 2012 at 5:59 am

Gale Santocono was my father, and no, that house was not “normal” but I loved that house. To answer all of the old questions, my father became a licensed architect in the early 1960’s. He was the first person in California to be allowed to sit for the architect exam without the college background, or the requirement of working for an architectural firm. After obtaining his license in CA, he became licensed in several Western states, and then obtain a national license.

korvettekid on October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm

hey joe & ken, i know there has been a while since you both posted here. i did a web search for gale santocono and wound up here. the reason i did the search is i just found out the house i bought in la grange was in fact his and evelyn’s own personal home built 2 years before his death. do you guys know of any things about the santocono’s that might be interesting for me to learn? the house i bought that was designed by him is sure any thing but normal.

DavidZornig on December 6, 2008 at 11:32 am

There is also a Raven Theatre in Chicago on Western Ave near Granville. Though it is strictly live stage and was built inside of a former Jewel Foods grocery store.

RoadsideArchitecture.com on December 6, 2008 at 10:47 am

The theatre’s website puts the opening date as 1949 — and the original name as Aven (not Avon):

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Ken: I’ve been trying to discover if the Plaza had formerly been the Fox’s Hall mentioned on this page, and this page at the Healdsburg Museum’s web site. The former page says that Fox’s Hall was built “behind” the Masonic building, suggesting a ground floor site, and the latter page gives the location as the west side of West Street between Plaza and North Streets, which is the block where the Plaza was (it also has a smallphoto of Fox’s Hall in 1904.) Healdsburg has short blocks, and I can’t find any evidence for another theater of the Plaza’s size ever being on that block, but I can’t find the exact address of Fox’s Hall to confirm that they were the same building.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 22, 2008 at 3:15 am

Joe; Great find. Do you want to add a page for the Plaza Theatre?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 19, 2008 at 10:56 pm

Thanks, Ken. If the Plaza was on West Street, then the Raven must be the 1950 house designed by Gale Santocono. Santocono, like his father, Matteo, was an artist and designer based in San Francisco (he did the decoration the Varsity Theatre in Davis, California, among others), but there are also a couple of cards in the California Index citing 1950 issues of Architect & Engineer saying which refer to him as an architect, specifically of this theater. I’ve been unable to confirm that he was actually a licensed architect, though. He might have been working with an engineer, but doing the actual architectural design himself.

The February 2, 1952, issue of Boxoffice Magazine cites him as the designer of the Seaview Theatre in Pacifica, the Village Theatre in Sacramento, and the Guild Theatre in San Francisco, as well as the Terrace Drive-In (the subject of the article- and yet to be added to Cinema Treasures) in San Francisco.

The February 16, 1952, issue of Boxoffice refers to Santocono as a “theater architect” and says that he is preparing designs for improvements to the Vacaville Theatre in Vacaville.

Also, ken mc unearthed a 1962 L.A. Times article naming Santocono as the architect of the Showcase Theater in Oakland (see Ken’s comment on that page.) And, as robertgippy says in the first comment above, the Raven was a near twin of the Clover Cinema in Cloverdale, before the Clover was remodeled, so that’s probably one of Santocono’s designs as well. The Boxoffice article says, after listing four of Santocono’s theaters, that he designed “many others” as well. I wish there was more about him on the Internet.

By the way, the aka’s listed for this theater should be Avon Theater and Raven Theater. Currently it just says “Aven” Theater.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 9, 2008 at 4:37 am

Joe; The 1952 edition of Film Daily Yearbook lists the Plaza Theatre, 1311-15 West Street N., Healdsburg, CA with a seating capacity of 828. The other theatre in town is named the Avon, with 800 seats and no address given. The 1950 edition of FDY only lists the Plaza Theatre.

The Plaza Theatre had 848 seats in 1941 & 1943, when it was the only theatre operating in town.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2008 at 6:40 pm

The California Index at the L.A. Library web site has cards making reference to two theatres in Healdsburg. An item about one of them appeared in the April, 1950, issue of Architect & Engineer, and this card says only that Gale Santocono had prepared plans for a theater to be built at Healdsburg. No name is given for this house.

There are two cited items about the other theater, called the Plaza. The April, 1930, issue of Architect and Engineer announced plans for the Plaza by architect Norman R. Coulter, for Redwood Theatres. The project was to cost $100,000. That a theater called the Plaza was actually built in Healdsburg is confirmed by an article in Motion Picture Herald, January 2, 1932, which said that L.H. Killingsworth was the new manager of the house.

The Raven is probably one or the other of these two theaters. The cards in the index don’t give addresses for either project, so I can’t sort them out. Has anyone got an old Film Daily Yearbook or other source with an address for the Plaza Theatre?

robertgippy on June 14, 2007 at 11:26 am

The Raven, now a live performance house, was always a movie theatre previously. When a movie house, it showed the latest films and was a enjoyable movie experience. A single floor theatre, with deco fixtures. The interior, is exactly the same as the Clover, in Cloverdale, but much more well kept. The Raven, is not to be confused with the Raven Film Center, which is a small but great 4 plex in the same city.