351 Railroad Avenue,
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California Theatre (Official)
Architects: Albert W. Cornelius
News About This Theater
- Jan 2, 2013 — California Theatre to reopen after years of planning
- Jun 13, 2011 — Pittsburg fast tracks theater restoration
- Feb 12, 2007 — Robert Morton 4/14 for sale
- Oct 27, 2003 — California Theater Seeks Revival
A pioneering entertainment center, the California Theatre was built before the Oakland Grand Lake (1926), Oakland Fox (1928), San Jose Fox (1927), the SF Curran (1922), the SF Golden Gate (1922), the Lafayette Park (1941), the Berkeley Oaks (1926), the SF Castro (1922) and the SF Orpheum (1926).
At 6:45 PM, on Tuesday, May 4th, 1920, the California Theatre opened its doors for the first time and hosted a gala event. The theatre cost $65,000 to build, and was a landmark for Pittsburg, showing the best in Hollywood films and booking entertaining vaudeville acts. There was a constant supply of live performances available, and was a stomping ground for many performers in, among others, the Fox vaudeville circuit.
The California Theatre sat unattended and empty since the week of February 15th, 1954. Because of inattention the theatre suffered extensive damage to the inside of the auditorium, including fallen plaster, lost artwork on the walls, and sagging and weakening throughout the main hall. Any vestige of being a movie house is gone; no seats, no movie screen, no projectors. The original marquee was removed in 1975.
The City of Pittsburg dedicated funds to renovate the theatre as a community-based performing arts venue. In June 2011, the city council approved fast track funding, to allow for restoration. A replica of the 1920 marquee was installed in 2010. The community envisioned that the theatre will bring in desired business and commerce to the area. It has dedicated itself to revitalize downtown Pittsburg, and has been successful in beautifying the downtown area.
The California Theatre reopened on January 15, 2013, initially using 300 seats located in the orchestra. Work to restore the balcony seating area continues……
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