Alhambra Theatre

1101 Alhambra Boulevard,
Sacramento, CA 95818

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Alhambra Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Moviegoers once entered this theater, known as the ‘Showplace of Sacramento’, through a beautiful garden with fountains. So great was its splendor that the City of Sacramento even renamed adjacent 31st Street ‘Alhambra Boulevard’ in honor of the theater.

In 1973, however, the Alhambra was demolished to make way for a Safeway grocery store, catalyzing the local historic preservation movement.

Today, the only remnant of the Alhambra is a one story fountain and a plaque located on the side of the Safeway’s parking lot.

Contributed by Jeremy Sanford

Recent comments (view all 56 comments)

cjspontiac
cjspontiac on April 24, 2009 at 3:16 am

When I was a little girl of kindergarten age, my mother wanted to show my father and a visiting ex-boyfriend that women could get jobs too. This was 1958. The next day my mother went out and got a job as a ticket taker at the Alhambra Theater. Her boss was dear Mr. Mears. I can remember many a Saturday when Mom would take my sister and I with her to work as Dad had to work too. The “musicals” became our babysitters. There was “South Pacific” and “GiGi” and many more musicals and movies that I watched hundreds of time. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it was a lot). Between films, my sister and I would go outside to play “movie scenes” by the fountain and in the beautiful gardens in the front of the theater. I am saddened that this wondrous treasure has been destroyed, but it will always stay in my memories and I’m sure in many others.

William
William on February 22, 2010 at 7:22 pm

In a ad from Motion Picture Exhibitor for United Artists Theatres it said that this was a D-150 equipped theatre.

andreahaleva
andreahaleva on April 10, 2010 at 7:29 pm

I grew up a few blocks from the Alhambra in the 50’s. Us girls would descend the staircase imagining we were royalty going to a ball. it was our giant playhouse!! I worked on the Save the Alhambra committee with John Roberts who later incorporated his memorabilia into his restaurant, Harlows. I have several paintings of it from William Tuthill and G. Reynoso. I am actively pursuing several leads for photographs of the interior. I saw Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz there when I was very young. I freaked out when the Witch disappeared except for her shoes and my grandmother took me outside into the garden to calm down. Does anyone know what the last movie shown there was?

bernie7768
bernie7768 on February 14, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I was one of the people who locked themselves in the Alhambra in the final days to try and save it. I was involved with the Save the Alhambra movement for about 6 months or longer, prior as well. I have historical information and even a few items I was able to get out with. I know that fountain was saved, but I am unsure where it is. I was also one of the people who set up and put on concerts and shows at the theatre to try and raise money to save it. If anyone is interested I can relay the information I had gathered back then. I was fortunate enough to be able to climb all through the theatre and marvel at its secrets.
Leonard Bernsdorf,

Bud K
Bud K on June 24, 2011 at 1:16 am

To Leonard and all the awesome folks who tried to save this theater Thank you, however 40 years later you wonder if the measure succeeded if the Theater would still be with us today, As much as I loved this place I don’t think so, The Problem with the Alhambra was simply it was built in the wrong place, it’s facilities was grand but not anything like the Paramount in Oakland or the Fox in San Francisco it was a neighborhood theater and a BIG one at that, Way Too Big, for those that knew this theater I think the Gardens outside were more beautiful than the inside, The Ceiling was not anything special and wasn’t the walls Stone? I do remember the Big Isle down the middle of it but again what do we remember about the interior. There is Not ONE picture of it anywhere on here or the Net.

To be very honest Sacramento really does not have any real Cinema Treasures, ok The Crest is nice but again it was a “Work Horse” theater in its day, The Tower, Century’s, State and Capitol Theaters were beautiful the day they open but we know there fate, split degraded and destroyed in the name of Progress, We now have the Megaplex’s, Imax behind what’s left of the Esquire and Like the National in LA, Good theaters torn down only to see the vacant and parking lots, (Cinema 1 and 2 and the Showcase) This Week we heard that the Woodland City Council is Saving the State BRAVO at least someone cares :)

spudwas
spudwas on March 18, 2012 at 1:59 am

I often wondered, for years, what happened to the “save the Alhambra” donation money that the people in Sacramento put into the fund back then to save it.The Alhambra obviously was not saved. So where or who got the money? There are pictures of the interior around. I saw one in the local PBS documentary “Sacramento:a nice place to live.” I will try to capture the picture and upload here.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on August 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Depicted in this 1928 trade ad for the Robert Morton Unit Organ: archive

Bud K
Bud K on September 27, 2013 at 2:05 am

for those that are curious about what the interior of the Alhambra Theater looked like I cannot post a pic because of copyright however here is a link to The Sacramento Public Library

https://server16362.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p15248coll1&CISOPTR=1380&CISOBOX=1&REC=1

CatherineGW
CatherineGW on March 15, 2014 at 5:14 am

I was also a part of the protest movement. Most everyone in our group (The Magic Theatre) joined. It was a sad day when we lost.

Jami_E
Jami_E on July 26, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I was only 2 when this was torn down but what a magnificent building! I have heard a lot of long time Sacramentians talk about the drama that surrounded destroying this theater and the movement of trying to save it. Why was such an old and historic building torn down for a grocery store?

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