Salinas' Crystal Theater To Be Razed Today

posted by Ross Melnick on October 30, 2002 at 8:12 am

SALINAS, CA — The old Crystal Theater will be demolished today, along with three other surrounding buildings, to make way for a new 14-screen, 2,916-seat Maya Cinemas megaplex. According to the Californian, a ceremony will be held today at 4 p.m. at Monterey and Market streets.

Tom Delay dates the Crystal to 1916 when it was originally known as Brown’s Opera House. It was briefly renamed the T & D Theatre when it became part of the T & D circuit, before that moniker was given as the original name of the current Fox California Theatre.

The 86-year-old movie house has been known as the Crystal ever since 1921. It closed in 1972 with Gary Parks noting its last uses as a Spanish-language movie house and boxing venue.

Parks, commenting on Cinema Treasures on June 15, 2002 about the redevelopment project, noted that despite the demolition:

The Crystal’s facade, vertical sign and marquee are shown in the rendering [of the new megaplex] as being preserved.

The rest of the complex will be in a sort of Mediterranean motif. Aside from preservation considerations, the Crystal’s facade and signage are being kept because they are grandfathered-in under the sign ordinance of Downtown Salinas, which no longer allows any new overhanging signage. This way, the new theatre will have both a monumental sign and eye-catching marquee.

No official word yet on whether this is confirmed.

(Thanks to Charles Parker for the update.)

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