Tower Theater

340 W. Sycamore Street,
Willows, CA 95988

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Auj on October 23, 2016 at 12:40 am

I live in Willows. Yes, there is very little left of this theater. You can see a tiny bit of the old neon sign on the exterior of the auditorium, but that is all. The building has been white washed and in slowly decaying. I came from Southern California and that area is full of lots of closed businesses too.

JohnRice on October 26, 2014 at 12:00 am

I’ve posted a couple of pictures of the current exterior condition of the old Tower, taken in October 2014, on the Photos page. A local merchant told me (so take this as hearsay) that the city would love to demolish the dilapidated theatre but the owner is a woman in San Francisco who is balking about the expense, saying she can’t afford it. The local merchant told me that she (the local) has been inside and it is in absolutely horrible condition, occupied at time by squatters, severely vandalized and with a ceiling in danger of collapsing.

Don Lewis
Don Lewis on October 30, 2012 at 4:01 pm

From the 1950s a photo postcard image of the Tower in Willows. The movie feature was the “Merry Widow” from 1952 starring Lana Turner.

juliagreen on March 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

We were in Willows two weekends ago. This theatre is across the street from the National Historic Landmark Willows Post Office—Main. While taking in the ambiance from the steps of the post office, I noticed the theatre, but had not mapped it yet. It looks horrible, like a really poor candidate even for conversion to another use. But I am no expert! Sorry I didn’t get pics, will try to the next time through.

CSWalczak on December 12, 2009 at 5:18 am

According to this article, a study is being funded to explore the possibility of converting the theater building into senior housing: View link

kencmcintyre on May 21, 2009 at 1:43 am

Here is a 1982 photo. The city is misidentified.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 21, 2009 at 12:45 am

The Tower Theatre was built by T&D Jr. Enterprises. The opening date of the theater was May 25, 1949, according to Boxoffice Magazine of May 29. The house had 946 seats, and the first manager was Mario Menconi. The Tower either supplemented or replaced the local Rialto Theatre, which Menconi had also managed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2008 at 2:57 am

I’m semi-local myself, living in the next county east, but I have no chances to get out of town coming up, even for a short trip.

kencmcintyre on April 8, 2008 at 2:34 am

Willows looks to be more than a Sunday drive from Los Angeles, Joe. Maybe a local can help us out.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 7, 2008 at 10:26 pm

The marquee and the vertical tower are gone (there’s a small picture- by Scott Neff- of the theatre on this page at CinemaTour showing the damage), but I think the building itself is probably still standing. My best guess for the address of the Tower is 340 W. Sycamore Street, and the Google Maps satellite view of that address shows a dark-roofed building there.

According to the banner displayed on the building in Scott Neff’s photo, the Tower was to have become the new location of the Bible Way Association Church, but that institution still shows an address on Plumas Street. I’m not sure what year the photo was taken, but it can’t have been too many years ago.

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2008 at 6:24 pm

“Black Widow” with Lana Turner was released in 1954, so that gives an approximate date for the photo above.