Alhambra Theatre

1101 Alhambra Boulevard,
Sacramento, CA 95818

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Showing 26 - 50 of 55 comments

Jason1 on October 1, 2005 at 2:12 am

We’ve located lighting fixtures that we think are from the theater—perhaps the lobby torchieres? They are 6'3'‘ tall, carved from white marble with black spider-veins. The base is octagonal, and above that a tulip with spiral post spinning upward to the globe. The globe sets atop a marble flower petal. Globe is carved alabaster, about 15’‘ diameter. Does anyone have any information about lighting fixtues, or have photos that show them?


nyc88s on June 10, 2005 at 4:04 am

I was born in Sacramento in 1953, so the Alhambra Theater was part of my city consciouness growing up. I don’t remember seeing many movies there, but I have a particular memory of the dark blue velvet ceiling, and the Moorish decorations throughout the building, especially the tilework.

Our church Fremont Presbyterian Church was, until 1963 housed in a smallish 1926 building which stands still at 36th and J Streets, now home to Faith United Methodist Church. The church was nowhere big enough to handle the once-a-year Easter crowds, so every year they rented the Alhambra Theater for Easter Sunday. I have fond memories of those Easters,with the choirs gathering in the beautiful gardens in their robes.

tomdelay on April 6, 2005 at 6:18 am

The Robert-Morton organ once in the Alhambra Theatre was removed in the early 1960s and installed in a Baptist church in Stockton, 40 miles south of Sacramento.

Around 1992, the church put the organ up for sale. The organ was totally restored and now resides in the Kautz Ironstone Winery in the Sierra town of Murphys, CA.

The organ was originally 11 ranks and is now 15 ranks, installed in the winery in 1994. The organ is played regularly for tours and concerts.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 5, 2005 at 9:20 pm

The Alhambra Theatre opened on 23rd September 1927 with the movie “The Fighting Eagle” starring Rod LaRocque.

Henrybaca on February 15, 2005 at 4:54 am

Found out the Alhambra in S.F. has been turned into a health gym. They saved the interior which was lovely. Another sad event. Ideas are to have some independent films shown.

Henrybaca on February 13, 2005 at 2:21 am

I am amazed at the ongoing reactions from so many to this day about this once beautiful theatre. I came from S.F. twelve years ago and live in Placerville. How I wished I could have walked up the stairs. There are so many buildings in danger in Sacramento. I have a love for the old buildings of our land. Globe Mill comes to mind. I am happy that the Victorians are being restored but there are so many others not considered. Warehouses, store fronts, buldings that are your past, your history. A time when people walked to their theatre, stores, adn communicated to their neighbors. Not like the cold malls of today. Please do not let them kill your, my history. I just found out today that the Coronet Theatre in S.F. is in danger of closing.
If you ever visit S.F. drop by the Alhambra Theatre in S.F. and view the grand chandelier.
New to the Cinema Treasure.

Burkiworks on February 1, 2005 at 5:24 am

My mother and I just about died when they tore the Alhambra down. Yes, it was put to a vote and lost. Mom’s dad had a hand in the construction of the Alhambra, where he worked on the fountain area in a technique called Scagliola.
The word “scagliola” derives from the Italian scaglia, which means “scales or chips of marble.” Although this artificial marble is indistinguishable from the original, it is actually a colored and polished plaster. Like real marble, scagliola’s complex twists and veins go deep into the stone. Scagliola, therefore, provides a durable surface which is far more permanent and far more realistic in appearance than faux surfaces, usually wood, which are painted to resemble marble.
In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, scagliola was also very popular in the United States. Artificial marble furnishings at that time were created chiefly by itinerant plasterers, men who kept the details of their fabrication process a secret. After the 1920’s, however, techniques of fabrication were forgotten. Scagliola virtually disappeared from American architecture.
I remember the first time I saw it and my mom told me that Grandpa had done much of it.
As a teenager, I spent many a Saturday in that theater in the 1950s. I saw a re-release of Gone with the Wind there around 1957 or 1958.
There’s a guy who sells old time photos at area mall art shows and paper ephemera shows. I believe he has a great photo of the Alhambra, However, I don’t know who he is. He may live in Auburn. Wish I knew more.

andreab on December 3, 2004 at 7:07 pm

I grew up in Sacramento during the 60’s. I have vague recollections of going to the Alhambra Theatre when I was very young, remembering it as a magnificent palace. In fact, I have a very emotionally charged, recurring dream about visiting there and feeling so rich and special being within its walls. Even though the physical structure is long gone, it remains very much alive in the child-like part of mt psyche.

niehaus on December 1, 2004 at 5:36 pm

Please help, have had no response, I need these photo’s to complete a project.

niehaus on November 27, 2004 at 2:56 pm

Christo, (or anyone)
I am a local artist interested in old photo’s of the Alhambra. Please e-mail me.

Backseater on October 18, 2004 at 5:26 am

Saw “The Fox” there in 1968 while stationed at Mather AFB.

JOISRIGHT on June 30, 2004 at 8:01 pm

It is rumored here in Sacramento that a few of the light fixtures from the Alhambra theatre are currently hanging in the “Limelight” bar directly across the street from the original sight of the theatre. I have seen them, and some do indeed do look like they could be. Old timers I have talked to over the years say the light fixtures were bought at the auction. I also have photos of the demolition of the theatre. Very sad to see. I also know that the City of Sacramento put it to a vote of the citizens and they voted NOT to buy the Alhambra. It was not, as is usually accepted, Safeway that bought the theatre soley to build a super market. Sacramento had its chance to save the Alhambra, and let it slip away. Safeway THEN decided to build their store on the sight. No one should blame Safeway. They should blame the citizens of Sacramento for allowing the Alhambra to crumble to the wrecking ball.

Jo Babbitt

cubey on April 26, 2004 at 10:46 am

Regarding the Tower being at risk, maybe someone should contact The History Channel’s “Save Our History” program about it. The program is to help save buildings and make them historical landmarks.

Certainly couldn’t hurt. Hard driving the Alhambra’s fate might be a good boost for saving the Tower.

Craigster on April 26, 2004 at 9:24 am

I remember going to the Alhambra Theater with my oldest brother and sister to see movies on the big screen. This was a very big deal for us and we were always looking forward to it. Although I was young, I can still see the images of the theater in my mind especially, the grand gardens, the fountain, the red carpet and the pillars. The very last picture we saw was a new movie named “2001 A Space Odyssey”. Back then, 2001 seemed like a long time away. As a young boy watching this movie I never thought that in just a few short years she would be gone, forever. It’s really sad to see our history disappear before our eyes and not being able to share the beauty with our children or grandchildren. We as people are too quick to tear down the “old” and build the “new” to make a buck without any regards for the history of neither our city nor the people who were born and raised. I also understand that progress needs to happen. But, there are something’s that just need to be left alone for all to enjoy for years to come and to bring smiles and memories for those to pass along. Like all of you, I felt like a piece of me died the day they tore her down. I too have not and will not step inside Safeway. And for them trying to say, “we are sorry” with the remodeling, the parking lights and fountain just doesn’t do justice for what they have done.
I pray and hope that the same thing doesn’t happen to the Tower Theater on Broadway, only fate will tell. My office in my home is being dedicated to the history of the old buildings in and around the Sacramento area with photos. I have also started trying to locate photos of this once beautiful theater. Thanks for the great leads on where I can start my search.
Christo, How can I get in touch with you for some of the photos you took at Kaiser?

cubey on April 23, 2004 at 8:19 pm

I posted the news here on the site about the Tower a little while back:

William on April 23, 2004 at 6:25 pm

Pacific Theatres owns alot of property in Hollywood. They own where the Dome sits and the lot just east of it, where the Bank of America & Wells Fargo Banks and that parking lot next to the banks(which is a parking garage now). And property along Hollywood Blvd. too.

RobertR on April 23, 2004 at 5:43 pm

I guess it’s not always feasible to incorporate the old theatre into the new mall structure, such as what Arclight did with the Dome? This would be the best of both worlds. Incidently is Pacific still the owner of The Dome?

Christo on April 23, 2004 at 5:14 pm

LInda and Ann, (or anyone else)

BTW- I took pictures of the Alhambra while visiting a friend at the Morse Kaiser about a month ago. Email me and I’ll send them to you!

Christo on April 23, 2004 at 5:13 pm

Not only that, but Westfield Mall which used to be the main of Japantown on K st. wants to build a new Multiplex theatre at 10th and K and have plans to put the TOWER Theatre in the same basket with the Alhambra. Hmm. 10th and K? That’s awful close to the Crest! Sorry Matthias, sorry for all your hard work in saving the Crest, but we need another Multiplex. Worse of it all, the city is helping fund it!

You can write to:
Save The Tower Theater
P.O. BOX Address 188083
Sacramento, CA. 95818


JimRankin on April 1, 2004 at 11:55 pm

Yes, the Theatre Historical Soc. has some 35,000 images; simply go to their web site and click on the sidebar link ARCHIVE to learn how to contact them about any theatre:

dgrotewohl on April 1, 2004 at 11:20 pm

Much of the interior is incorporated into Harlow’s Restaurant on J Street in Sacramento. Also, some of the interior is recreated at the California History Museum in the Sect'y of State Bldg. in downtown Sac. I moved to the area long after the Alhambra was torn down, but still feel the loss. Alhambra Blvd., in front of the Safeway, still has the historical lighting fixtures that were added to go with the theatre’s decor, and the Safeway store was recently remodeled to evoke the theatre. Not much consolation, however.

DBWiegers on March 21, 2004 at 9:48 pm

Linda, Contact the Theater Historical Society in Elmhurst, Il. They have a library of theater photos.

cubey on March 21, 2004 at 8:11 pm

The Alhambra theater was way before my time. However my mom was a part of the protests against the demolition of the theater. She told me this as she was parking the car to go shopping in that Safeway.

I don’t completely understand the idea of not shopping at JUST the Safeway location that took away the Alhambra theater. If you really feel absolute disgust for Safeway, you wouldn’t shop at ANY location, not just the one. All the money goes to the same people regardless of the location.

The newly remodeled/reconstructed Country Club Plaza (Watt at El Camino) has a store (the name has slipped my mind, they also have a store in Old Sac) with various TV and movie collectibles. They have a 10+ foot model of the Alhambra theater there with a sign telling the history of it as well as having postcards and other items for sale.

rcrawford on February 20, 2004 at 12:05 am

I remember going there w/my sister Marianne in the 50’s. I remember the outside of the building well. What I remember most was the interior… with it’s chinese red carpeting with gold lamay trim. I remember the Roman pillars, and the loage seating, with trim work that matched the carpeting. They even brought in Sammy Davis Jr. to head a fund raiser to try to save the theatre. However it was sold to Safeway, but, there was an auction. They sold as much of the interior decor as they could before tearing it down. Perhaps the Sacramento Bee can shed some light as to what happened with the stuff they auctioned off? Perhaps there is some public record?

Angel on February 8, 2004 at 11:34 pm

I was born in sacramento, california (3-09-38)
I saw “Gone with the Wind” when I was 7
years old. I too have never gone to that
safeway store…they tore my memories down
I too am looking for a photo of the theater,
we have now moved to Farmington, Missouri to
be near our daughter & son-in-law, so I need
a photo for my memory wall!
please, if anyone can help me, I would be
most appreciative!
Ann Pirisky