1436 San Pablo Avenue,
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Architects: Walter J. Mathews
One would never believe it from looking at it in recent years (it resembled basically just another nondescript modernized two-story building), but the building directly behind the Broadway Building in downtown Oakland was originally a theatre.
Designed in 1903 by Walter J. Mathews, the Bell Theatre was opened on January 18, 1904 and featured vaudeville, movies, picture machines, and other attractions. It operated until 1912.
During construction of the current Oakland City Hall, the Bell Theatre was converted to office and retail, in which capacity it would remain for the next eight decades. In 1995, it and an adjacent office building were demolished to make way for the Broadway Building’s expansion/conversion into the Lionel J. Wilson Building.
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