The Spreckels Theatre
Spreckels Theatre opened in 1912 with a grand celebration that coincided with the opening of the Panama Canal. The theater has changed hands, but with only a few exceptions, it has been in operation since the time of its opening. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Backstory and Context
The building was designed by architect Harrison Albright, who built the theater in the baroque style, with numerous allegorical paintings and a large painted mural above the stage. The Grand Lobby's walls, ceilings, and stairs are faced in Predora onyx and the original stained glass window above the theater entrance was created by Tiffany Studios.
Over the years, the Spreckels has hosted some of the city's finest performances. It was built to host live theatrical performances, and in its early years the theater functioned primarily as a vaudeville house. With the growing popularity of motion pictures, however, the theater was modified in 1931 to allow for movie screenings. In the ensuing years, the Spreckels has hosted theatrical productions, first run films, touring acts, and comics. The theater has operated almost continuously over the last century, with only brief interruptions for renovations.