California Theater Seeks Revival
PITTSBURG, CA — In early spring of 1919, the Pittsburg Post newspaper announced that the Enea brothers of the Palace Theater “will erect a handsome new playhouse on Railroad Street, which will embody in every way a most modern type of theatre building, handsome in appearance and substantial in construction.”
The article goes on to say that “The Enea Brothers have been mindful in every way for the convenience and comfort of their patrons and have provided for a ladies' rest room and men’s lounging room as features of the service.”
The California Theater, one of the first major palaces in the east bay area, was an icon of entertainment for the people in the entire region. In her prime, the California Theater represented the best of Pittsburg and beyond. For the price of 10 cents, a patron could spend a day escaping into films, or, for a dollar, laughing at outrageous comedic farces performed on stage, and enjoy a day’s entertainment in the very finest luxury that the San Francisco Bay Area had to offer. Comfortable seats with exotic artwork surrounded the patron with luxury.
The California Theater has sat unattended and empty since the week of February 15th, 1954. Because of inattention the theater has suffered extensive damage to the inside of the auditorium, including fallen plaster, lost artwork on the walls, and sagging and weakening throughout the main hall. Any vestige of being a movie house is gone; no seats, no movie screen, no projectors.
Now Pittsburg wants to resurrect the theater. It has earmarked several million dollars for its renovation and is looking at several options to best revitalize the theater and its historic downtown area.
Pittsburg is looking at a performing arts venue or at a unique cinema-pub establishment that could add the spark needed to wake up a renewed interest in its renovated downtown area. An improved downtown would help the city be a destination area again, catering to local tourism and developing a self image of innovation and forward thinking, as well as a great place for entertainment and recreation.
As of this writing (Oct 26th, 2003), a decision by the town leaders has not yet been made.