United Artists Theatre
263 S. 1st Street,
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Previous Names: Hippodrome Theatre, American Theatre, State Theatre
The Hippodrome Theatre was opened March 1, 1919, originally designed in a Spanish Gothic hybrid style in a collaboration of local architects Binder & Curtis with San Francisco architects Weeks & Day. The tall narrow facade with spindly columns and tracery would find even better interpretation several years later in Weeks & Day’s California (Fox) Theatre, just down the street.
The theatre was later renamed American Theatre, but it spent many years (in an Art Deco reincarnation) as the State Theatre, and finally the UA Theatre, with a towering neon vertical sign much like that of several other UA houses, most notably that in Berkeley.
The theatre was entered through a long narrow lobby structure, with the auditorium occupying a large plot of ground in the center of the block. The UA was demolished as part of downtown redevelopment, and though the Binder & Curtis-designed Montgomery Hotel adjacent is undergoing restoration, the site of the UA Theatre has sat empty for over twenty years.
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