Armstrong's Colonial Theatre
568 Lighthouse Avenue,
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Architects: William H. Weeks
Styles: Art Nouveau
This early theatre was the center of a building on Lighthouse Avenue between Forest Avenue and Grand Avenue. At this point, little is known about the theatre. It was on the same side of Lighthouse Avenue as the 1925 Grove Theatre, however the building sits further to the south of the later Grove Theatre. A large box office occupied the entrance to the theatre.
The architect for the theatre building was William H. Weeks who designed many other distinctive buildings in the area. He did design at least one other theatre–the 1915 T & D Theatre (later State) in Watsonville, CA. The building serves today as the Pacific Art Center selling works of art.
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Interesting! Weeks also designed numerous theatres which were components of the many public schools he designed.
For some reason, the approximate date of this theatre’s operation failed to enter in the above description. The Colonial Theatre was in operation circa 1912 and probably opened about 1910 or so.
The Masonic Lodge was located above this theatre. Around 1928, the Masons built a new lodge hall a couple blocks north of the 1925 Grove Theatre and a short block east of Lighthouse. It is still in use while the 1925 Grove Theatre was destroyed in a 1951 fire.
The Grove Theatre was rebuilt within the original 1925 walls in a typical modern cinema style and reopened in 1952. The Grove building still stands, but it has been so changed that it is almost unrecognizable that it ever was a theatre—unless you go behind the building and see the blister on the former stage wall that house the
speaker array in 1952.
Newspaper accounts claimed the 1925 Grove seated 700 on the main floor and 300 in the balcony. Ken Roe told me yesterday that his documents show the Grove claimed 700 seats in 1941.
This photo is circa 1912:
I think I updated Street View to the wrong building. After careful examination of the 1912 photo, it’s clear that the Colonial Theatre was in the building to the right of the building that has the Hallmark shop in Street View. The former theater entrance was in the location now occupied by the Glenn Gobel Custom Frames shop, which is at 562 Lighthouse Avenue.