El Paseo Theatre

123 W. San Francisco Street,
Santa Fe, NM 87501

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El Paseo, 1981

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Originally on this site was the Paris Theatre, dating from 1914, it was destroyed by fire in 1945.

In 1948, a new theatre named the El Paseo Theatre was built on the site, designed by architect Charles D. Strong. It operated into the late-1980’s before closing. It was later converted into a retail store, as it still functions as today.

Contributed by Bryan

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

cbaird
cbaird on September 6, 2006 at 10:59 am

The company I work for was the original builder of the Paris/El Paseo Theater in Santa Fe. We have recently re-acquired the property and would very much like to get a copy of the photo of the theater posted on your website. Can you help with this?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 2, 2006 at 4:46 pm

The owner of the El Paseo in 1971 was Commonwealth Theaters, according to this newspaper article:

Two new movie theaters will open here in Santa Fe Wednesday night at 8. Known as the Coronado Twin Theaters, the Commonwealth Theaters will operate them. The Coronado Twin is located in the east end of the Coronado Shopping Center. Commonwealth also runs the Lensic, El Paseo and the Pueblo Drive-In.

DonLewis
DonLewis on December 14, 2006 at 5:08 pm

My photograph of the EL PASEO sign and marquee in Santa Fe.
www.flickr.com/photos/lastpictureshow/322756243

DonLewis
DonLewis on February 24, 2008 at 2:33 pm

A 1988 photo of the El Paseo in Santa Fe.

randini
randini on November 11, 2009 at 9:35 am

The Paris Theatre opened in 1914, not 1925. According to an article in the Santa Fe New Mexican shortly afterwards its seating capacity was claimed to be 1050. Photographs of it in its earlier years are hard to come by, only one exterior from about 1945 and no interiors. During the silent era it was Santa Fe’s premiere movie theatre, after a period of competition with the smaller Elks Theatre (later Kys and later Rialto). It was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ, size unkown. It was the site of Santa Fe’s talkie debut in 1929 (Universal’s “Broadway”). Built originally by local merchant/entrepreneur Nathan Salmon, whose family (Salmon/Greer) were Lebanese immigrants and who operated it, as well as their later and larger Lensic Theatre into the post WWII era. Closed in 1972 and remodeled as a disco, which failed. Reopened as a commercial art house in the 1980s before closing for good as a theatre in 1990. The building’s exterior is still intact except for any trace of the original facade and nothing of the interior, which has been commercial retail space ever since (now Coldwater Creek).

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 12, 2009 at 1:16 am

The May 1, 1948, issue of Boxoffice said that the site of the old Paris Theatre, destroyed by fire three years earlier, was being cleared for construction of a new 700-seat theater. This was entirely new construction, not a remodeled and renamed Paris Theatre.

I haven’t found an opening date for the El Paseo, but the January 15, 1949, issue of Boxoffice said that free holiday morning matinees had been presented at theaters in Santa Fe, and the El Paseo was listed among them, so it must have been open by late 1948.

A photo of the El Paseo appeared in Boxoffice of March 25, 1950.

The July 14, 1975, issue of Boxoffice reported that the El Paseo had been reopened as the New Mexico 2000 Theatre, named for a “…25-minute multimedia journey through 2000 years of New Mexico history….” which had begun an open-ended run at the renovated house after premiering on July 3. The production was the brainchild of David E. Wynne, and it might have been related to Wynne’s documentary, “New Mexico, The Enchanted Land,” released the same year. I don’t know how long the multimedia event ran.

dewynne
dewynne on June 12, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I rented the El Paseo Theatre from Nathan Greer, whose family owned a good deal of real estate in Santa Fe in late winter of 1975. They also owned the Lensic Theatre. I believe they owned Commonwealth Theaters. New Mexico 2000 became New Mexico, The Enchanted Land the following year. It was a five screen multimedia historical entertainment, narrated by Richard Basehart, with original music score and contributions of several local and regional photographers. Then Governor Jerry Appodaca spoke at the premiere.
When I rented it, the theater had no seats and was in disrepair. I complete restored the old Cassidy Murals, which had been defaced.
We operated the show during the summer of 1975, then, due to poor attendance(the city had exaggerated its tourist numbers) moved it to Old Town in Albuquerque where it was renamed New Mexico, The Enchanted Land.

Subsequently, the theater became a disco. Mirrored glass was glued directly onto the murals – that’s a shocker, in Santa Fe? The theater unfortunately has gone through several rather dismal reincarnations.

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