815 E. Olive Avenue,
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The Tower Theatre opened with a premier showing of the film ‘Balalaika’ for a private party of local dignitaries, Fox Theater executives, and guests on December 14, 1939.
Co-hosts for the event were developer and owner A. Emory Wishon (1882-1948) of San Francisco, a prominent California hydroelectric executive, and Charles P. Skoura of Los Angeles, president of Fox West Coast Theaters. The theater opened its doors to the film-viewing public on December 15, 1939. The double feature program included ‘Dancing Coed’ and ‘Henry Goes Arizona.’
A complete restoration of the exterior facade, ongoing tenant improvements in the retail wings, and modifications to allow the adaptive reuse of the theater auditorium for the performing arts have brought new life to the theater and to the surrounding Tower District. The area has since become a lively collection of restaurants, pubs, jazz clubs, and antique shops, with the highly successful ‘Tower Theatre for the Performing Arts’ at its center.
In 1991, the dramatic theater rehabilitation was honored with a California Preservation Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Restoration, and with an Award of Honor from the San Joaquin Chapter, American Institute of Architects.
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