Ornate Theatres

A Tour of America’s Historical Theatres

Here you will find hard to find photographs of historic theatres from across America, Please feel free to browse and share. We offer free professional photography to historic theatres to help promote these amazing jewel boxes. Get involved and spread the word about these precious (and sometimes endangered) theatres!

The Copley Theater

The Jacobs Music Center’s Copley Symphony Hall (originally the Fox Theatre) in San Diego, California, was designed by Weeks and Day as a Spanish gothic-revival luxury movie theatre. It opened in 1929 as the Fox Theatre and cost $2.5 million to build. It was the third largest theatre in California when it was built.


The Vista Theater

One of LA’s best moviegoing secrets is a hidden treasure in a well-kept but unassuming building.  Sitting on the former site of the huge Babylon set from D.W. Griffith’s 1916 epic INTOLERANCE, the Vista Theatre is a rare artefact of classic Hollywood: a thriving, single-screen neighbourhood theatre, run with exceptional care and held in exceptionally high regard by savvy and discerning patrons. It is known to be the longest-running freestanding theatre in Southern California.



The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse

The San Gabriel Mission Playhouse is a magnificent and opulent theater steeped in history, complete with tapestries presented by the King of Spain, a beautifully carved and painted ceiling, a fully operational Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, and chandeliers that replicate the lanterns used on Spanish galleons which sailed around the tip of South America en route to California in the 1800’s. 

The Paramount Theater

Oakland’s Paramount Theatre is one of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. Designed by renowned San Francisco architect Timothy L. Pflueger and completed in late 1931, it was one of the first Depression-era buildings to incorporate and integrate the work of numerous creative artists into its architecture and is particularly noteworthy for its successful orchestration of the various artistic disciplines into an original and harmonious whole.

The United Artists/Ace

The United Artists Theater was designed by the architect C. Howard Crane of the firm Walker & Eisen for the United Artists film studio formed by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. The theatre, a classic movie palace, was one of many constructed by United Artists and served as a major premier house. The theatre occupies three floors of the 13-story building and has a 1,600-seat auditorium.

The Warner Theatre

This fabulous structure bears the name of the world-famous Warner Bros. who commissioned it to be built in 1929. The air-conditioned theatre provides more than 2,250 upholstered, theatre-styled seats that can be used for lectures, presentations and entertainment purposes. Of them, 1,528 are orchestra seats and 722 seats are located on the balcony.

The Academy Theater

Meadville’s Academy Theatre was built in 1885 by Ernest P. Hempstead, a newspaperman by trade. Hempstead presented the “Academy of Music” to the people of Meadville in 1885 as a testament to the great music and opera he knew the city to be capable of presenting. The building was designed by architect J. M. Wood. Wood stated he strove to create a “new and beautiful Temple of Amusement – a credit to the city and an honour to its proprietor.” The Academy Theatre was a popular opera house during the late 1880s.

The Village Theatre

The Village is a small community theater on Coronado Island, near San Diego. It sits on the main thoroughfare in town, in the shadow of the famous red-roofed Coronado Hotel. It opened to much fanfare in the small town on March 18, 1947. People lined up for blocks to see Irish Eyes Are Smiling in Technicolor…

The Spreckels Theatre

The Spreckels Theater Building was built in San Diego, California, in 1912. It was touted as “the first modern commercial playhouse west of the Mississippi”. It was designed for philanthropist John D. Spreckels and was originally created to host live theater performances, but was converted to allow motion pictures in 1931. It has been in continuous operation since its opening…

The Saban Theatre

The Saban Theatre is a historic theatre in Beverly Hills, California, formerly known as the Fox Wilshire Theater. It is an Art Deco structure at the southeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hamilton Drive designed by architect S. Charles Lee and is considered a classic Los Angeles landmark…

The Alex Theatre

The Alex Theatre has been a Glendale landmark since 1925. Originally a neighborhood Vaudeville house and movie palace, today the venue serves as a world-class performing arts and entertainment center…

Theater Locations

The Vista Theater

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse

The Paramount Theater

The United Artists/Ace

The Warner Theater

The Academy Theater

Zoom the map in to see theatres that are close to each other. Drag to move around.


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