West Coast Theatre
308 N. Main Street,
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Christian Tabernacle, Santa Ana (Official)
Architects: Carl Boller
Firms: Boller Brothers
Previous Names: New Walker Theatre, Fox Walker Theatre, West Coast Walker Theatre, Fox West Coast Theatre
The Fox West Coast Theatre has the distinction of being the 100th theatre designed by the Boller Brothers. Charles E. Walker built the New Walker Theatre at a cost of $250,000 on the site of the old Princess Theatre. Construction was completed in record time with three shifts working around the clock. The original 1,355 seating capacity included 800 on the main floor, along with 55 loges and 500 in the balcony, which was tested with a 25-ton cement weight. The theatre opened in January 1924, with a Wurlitzer pipe organ installed, and the opening attraction was Will Rogers in “Two Wagons, Both Covered”.
In September 1925, West Coast Theatres took over, with C.E. Walker remaining on as resident manager. Later names were the Fox Walker Theatre, West Coast Walker Theatre and finally the Fox West Coast Theatre. In its early years, in addition to movies, the theatre also associated with the Orpheum Vaudeville Circuit, playing direct hits from the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles.
By 1950 it was operated by Cabart Theaters Corp. In the late-1950’s, the interior of the theatre was given a ‘Skouras-style ornamentation, similar to many of the Fox West Coast theatres at that time. The theatre was closed as a movie theatre during the 1980’s and fell into disrepair. In 1991, the Christian Tabernacle bought it for $750,000 and put another $50,000 into its restoration. Pete Montanez, a church member and general contractor, gave up two years of his time and donated $200,000 in labor to restore the theatre. He did all this work, despite the handicap of previously losing his right forearm in an accident.
The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
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