Lynwood Theatre

11606 Long Beach Boulevard,
Lynwood, CA 90262

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The Los Angeles Library has a photo in its database of the Lynwood Theatre totally destroyed after the March 1933 Long Beach quake. However, the Los Angeles Times was advertising the Lynwood Theatre in January 1936. One would have to assume that the theater was rebuilt from the ground up.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 14, 2007 at 7:51 am

The L.A. Library’s California Index has three cards with headings containing the name Lynwood Theatre, but two are contradictory.

The earliest cites Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of August 1, 1924, which said that the contract had been awarded to build the theatre at the corner of Long Beach Avenue and Elizabeth Street.

The second, citing Southwest Builder & Contractor issue of January 16, 1925, said that bids were being taken for the theatre, but the location is given as the southwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue.

I suspect- but can’t be positive- that the section of Elmwood Avenue which crossed Long Beach Boulevard was absorbed by Imperial Highway, and thus will not be found on modern maps. Today a tad end of Elmwood exists in the east part of town, one block north of Beechwood Avenue. At Long Beach Boulevard, Beechwood is one block south of Imperial.

Unless the library made an error on one or the other of the cards, or Southwest Builder made an error in one or another of its articles, it looks as though the original project fell through and construction was delayed a year and the site changed. This is too bad because there’s also this card in the index which, though it doesn’t specifically name the Lynwood Theatre, is timed perfectly to refer to it, citing Southwest Builder of May 9, 1924 as saying that a theatre in Lynwood had been designed by architect Werner Ernest Noffke. Since the project was apparently moved I suppose we can’t assume that the same architect was used for the theatre that actually got built.

The third card actually naming the Lynwood Theatre cites California Graphic, issue of August 22, 1925, reporting on the gala opening of the theatre on August 14, 1925.

There is also a card which refers to the replacement theatre built after the earthquake. This card cites two issues of Southwest Builder & Contractor; September 28, 1934, and December 14, 1924. Both announce the plans of the Lynwood Theatre Corporation to erect a new theatre designed by Paul Kerr. The address is given as 11600 Long Beach Boulevard. This is a few blocks south of Elmwood Avenue (assuming that Elmwood is now Imperial), so it might be that the two Lynwood Theaters were in different locations and deserve seperate entries.

However, if mistakes were made by either the library or by Southwest Builder, there is another possibility. If the first Lynwood theatre was built not at the corner of Elmwood Avenue but at the corner of Lynwood Avenue, then the two might have been in the same place since, as near as I can figure from the maps available to me, Lynwood Avenue is just about at the 11600 block of Long Beach Avenue. I think it more likely that there wasn’t any mistake, and the corner of Elmwood Avenue was correct location of the first theatre.

To sum up:

First Lynwood Theatre, opened August 14, 1925, destroyed by earthquake on March 10, 1933, probably located at the southwest corner of Long Beach Boulevard and Elmwood Avenue (which is possibly now Imperial Highway), possibly designed by Werner Ernest Noffke.

Second Lynwood Theatre, 11600 Long Beach Avenue, designed by Paul Kerr, built 1934-35, probably demolished (it doesn’t appear to be there on Terraserver’s 2004 Urban Areas aerial photo.)

So, there are some puzzles for somebody to work on.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 14, 2007 at 5:31 pm

Too much thinking for me this early in the morning, Joe. Maybe later. Here is the LAPL photo from 1933:
http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics48/00058879.jpg

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 14, 2007 at 5:56 pm

OK, this is from the LA Times, May 20, 1934:

Lynwood to Get $25,000 Film House

Work on Quake-Proof Theater Scheduled to Start Next Month

Construction of a quake-proof theater building at a cost of $25,000 will be started here soon after June 1, it was announced today by W.J. Zimmerman, who formerly operated two show houses in this area. The theater will be completed and in operation by September 1, he said, giving Lynwood the first motion-picture house it has had since March 10 of last year, when the earthquake destroyed the Lynwood Theater.

The new structure, to be located at Long Beach Boulevard and Lynwood Road, will be of steel and concrete construction, 50x138 feet in size. It will be erected by the Lynwood Theater Corporation, recently organized. Zimmerman has leased the building and will operate it.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 13, 2008 at 5:32 am

This building is currently at 11600. For some reason they put 11160 as their address. I know that it’s 11600 because 11603 is across the street. It’s not the theater, obviously:
http://tinyurl.com/4hdveh

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Here is a photo card that is currently on eBay:
http://tinyurl.com/d37y8e

kd6dkc
kd6dkc on August 30, 2009 at 4:45 am

An ad in the 1 Nov. 1943 issue of the Compton News-Tribune (Compton, CA) lists the Lynwood Theatre address as 11606 Long Beach Blvd., Lynwood. The phone number was NEwmark 11555. As a kid, I saw “My Darling Clementine” (1946) at that theatre. Possibly due to competition from the very near and much more elegant Arden Theatre, the Lynwood Theatre closed and I believe it was turned into a small bowling alley.

kd6dkc
kd6dkc on September 20, 2009 at 6:31 am

Confirming the address and fate of the Lynwood Theatre of the 1940s as shown in my Aug. 29, 2009 posting, an ad the 1957 Lynwood High School yearbook (Accolade) shows the occupant of 11606 Long Beach Blvd. to be the South-Lyn Bowling Lanes.

BillCounter
BillCounter on December 13, 2010 at 7:43 pm

I received an e-mail from Pamela Miller regarding the FIRST Lynwood Theatre:

I am searching for some information on a theater that was built by Mrs. R. T. Vilven in Lynwood. Mrs. R. T. Vilven was Gertrude, the wife of my grandmother’s uncle, Richard Tanton Vilven
I have an article from the Long Beach Press-Telegram:

Fine New Theater At Lynwood Opens Its Doors Tonight

Lynwood, California, August 14
Lynwood’s beautiful new theater, built and owned by a woman, with a woman’s orchestra, women ushers and women in the box office, will open to the public this evening.

The new place of amusement is probably the largest and nost elaborate between Los Angeles and Long Beach and will be opened with fitting ceremonies which will include the personal appearance of representatives of the Hollywood moving picture studios.

Mrs. R. T. Vilven, a pioneer resident and business woman of Lynwood, is the moving spirit of the new enterprise which is meeting a hearty welcome from the people of this community which has heretofore been without a moving picture house.

The theater will seat approximately 1000 persons. It is located on Long Beach Boulevard, at Elmwood Avenue and is seventy-five feet by 135 feet in size, the building alone, exclusive of all furnishings, costing in excess of $35,000.

The theater is elaborately furnished and will rank, it is said, with amusement house in places many times the population of Lynwood.
-Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Here is a photo I found….I believe Gertrude is the woman on the left….but that is just from memory of other photos I have seen. I believe she had died by 1919.

Note: I’ll forward Ms. Miller a link to this page. I think we can say that Gertrude was alive at least through mid-1925. Perhaps a separate page is in order for the first of the two Lynwood Theatres?

BillCounter
BillCounter on December 14, 2010 at 6:22 pm

An update on the FIRST Lynwood Theatre:

It was opened by Mattie B. Vilven, wife of R. T. (Richard Tanton) Vilven. The couple was in the real estate business in the area.

Gertrude (Richard’s first wife) wasn’t involved. That would have been difficult as she was dead long before 1925.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 3, 2013 at 12:53 am

As most of the earlier comments and links are largely about the first Lynwood Theatre, perhaps we need a new page for the second Lynwood. Then we can just change the address for this page.

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