Bell Theatre

1436 San Pablo Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94612

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One would never believe it from looking at it in recent years (it resembled basically just another nondescript modernized two-story building), but the building directly behind the Broadway Building in downtown Oakland was originally a theater.

Designed in 1903 by Walter J. Mathews, the Bell Theatre festured vaudeville, movies, picture machines, and other attractions. It operated until 1912.

During construction of the current Oakland City Hall, the Bell Theatre was converted to office and retail, in which capacity it would remain for the next eight decades. In 1995, it and an adjacent office building were demolished to make way for the Broadway Building’s expansion/conversion into the Lionel J. Wilson Building.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

NAParish
NAParish on November 8, 2014 at 3:28 pm

The map and street view for this theater do not show the correct location. The 1400 block of San Pablo Avenue was between 14th and 15th Street — which is now part of Frank Ogawa Plaza. The Broadway Building / Lionel Wilson Building referenced in the description is described here: oaklandwiki.org/First_National_Bank_BuildingLionel_Wilson_Building And this is now the approximate location of the Bell Theatre: http://goo.gl/HSSMtn

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