Dreamland Theatre

3021 S. Main Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90007

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The Dreamland Theatre was opened in 1912. One of many independent theaters in the South Main Street area of downtown Los Angeles.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

kencmcintyre on August 11, 2007 at 9:10 pm

Here is a June 1935 ad from the LA Times:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 1, 2007 at 4:44 pm

This building was erected in 1917, according to a report generated by the city planning department’s zoning information and mapping system.

kencmcintyre on April 28, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I drive by this place all the time and I never see anything going on. I would really like to go inside and see what’s left. Same with the Gentry in South LA. Maybe I should pose as a salesman.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 5, 2009 at 7:33 am

Number two does sound like the logical choice. Does the information given by the planning department consist of scanned documents or is the information typed on a web page? If your looking at scanned documents, they are probably accurate. If the information is being typed on a web page from those documents, then mistakes can be made. I’m just curious what format the information is given in.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 5, 2009 at 3:25 pm

The information about properties in the City of Los Angeles is available from two sites- ZIMAS, the City Planning Department’s information service, which shows it both on a web page (with a map) and in a .pdf file report, which will have an entirely different type face; and the L.A. County Assessor’s parcel viewer (a somewhat cranky site.) Dating info at both sites comes from the Assessor’s office.

Everything at both sites appears to be digitally generated from a database, but the database itself might have been generated from scans of original documents by some sort of document reader program. The database gets updated whenever there’s a change in a parcel’s status, which is probably done by keyboard entry. There are definitely some mistakes in the database, though I’ve only found a few I know to be wrong. The system appears to be reliable at least 99% of the time.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm

Thanks Joe. When I research NYC properties, I can view scanned copies of the original certificate of occupancy for various buildings. Since the information isn’t entered via keyboard, the only errors possible are errors that were made at the time the certificate was filled out. Some are difficult to read, but I believe for the most part they are accurate.

Building permits are a different story. I cannot see the original building permit. What is available online is the permit number and keyboard entered data from the permit. I have found a few errors with building permits. The older permits issued for new buildings are usually the permits that contain errors. Recent permits for demolition or construction work are usually okay. Property deeds are also available. They are a mixed bag. Some are scanned originals and some consist of keyboard entered data usually done when the original isn’t available. As with any reference tool, you take your chances with the information supplied by them.

kencmcintyre on December 31, 2009 at 5:09 pm

Here is an aerial view from a few years ago. The building at the northwest corner of 30th and Main is new as it doesn’t show up in aerial photos from the 1940s and 1950s. The remaining three buildings have been there going back to the 1940s. I’m not sure which one was the theater building at this point.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2014 at 5:30 pm

The Dreamland Theatre is listed at 3021 S. Main Street in the 1915 city directory, so the County Assessor’s office was wrong about this building having been built in 1917, unless something happened to the original building and it was rebuilt that year. I suspect it’s most likely that a document reader (human or digital) misread 1912 as 1917.

The Dreamland was most likely this project noted in the August 24, 1912, issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer:

“BRICK STORES AND THEATER—Archt. J. T. Zeller, 203 Currier Bldg., has completed plans and is taking bids for the erection of a l-story brick building to be erected at Main and Thirty-first Sts. for N. J. Sanders, 3025 S. Main St. It will contain four stores and a moving picture theater seating about 800. Concrete foundation 100x88 ft., glazed brick facing, steel beams and columns, composition roof, plate glass store windows, metal frames and sash and wired glass, galvanized iron skylights, stucco theater front, pine trim, plumbing, electric wiring. The site is now being cleared.”
The stores with their plate glass windows have been walled up, but otherwise the building remains pretty much as described in 1912.

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