Florence Mills Theatre

3511 S. Central Avenue,
Los Angeles, CA 90011

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Homeboy
Homeboy on March 10, 2013 at 6:11 pm

The Florence Mills is in the midst of being demolished. Here is a picture of the Florence Mills, in decline, but before the wrecking ball. http://www.florencemills.com/buildings.htm#theatreLA

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 2, 2012 at 6:42 am

I think that this item from an April, 1912, issue of The Moving Picture World must be about the Globe/Florence Mills Theatre, which was built that year:

“Plans for a new… theater have been completed by Architect A. Lawrence Valk. Theater being built for John Wagner at Central Avenue, near Jefferson”

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on November 15, 2010 at 9:01 am

Yes, William. I was commenting to Warren, who was “bewildered.”

South Central is a good area for a photographer interested in architecture: old buildings tend to get reused, rather than knocked down.

William
William on November 15, 2010 at 6:33 am

Don S, The “long lost” meaning for the theatre district that once was in this area. Just like how Main Street once had many theatres before Broadway became the new district.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on November 14, 2010 at 9:24 pm

Bill, in the last shot Ken posted on 3/3/09, we’re looking up past the liquor store sign at the front right corner of the building. At the very top are white letters on a black background that read Florence. From other angles, it’s possible to see that it reads Florence Mills Theatre.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on November 14, 2010 at 9:10 pm

‘The introduction is a bit bewildering. That section of Los Angeles is hardly “long lost.”’

I thought the long lost referred to the theater district, not the actual area. Another thing that has changed is that it’s largely Hispanic now, not black.

Awerich
Awerich on September 21, 2010 at 2:50 am

Hello all, I feel I should chime in as I grew up there. I first at least since the 1970’s, this theater has Never functioned as a movie house. I has been like Noah’s Ark sitting their. The structure looks pretty much the same as the photo’s Ken has shared with us here. It’s kinda weird because the neighborhood has changes dramatically since I was a boy but I do not think the locals know or knew it was a theater.

Bil Egan
Bil Egan on March 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm

He outlived four wives, the last one being Dr Gertrude Curtis, New York’s first Black dentist, and also the widow of Cecil Mack (R.C. McPherson), joint songwriter of The Charleston, Just a Cousin of Mine, That’s Why They Call me Shine and many others. Florence Mills' husband ended up owning a share of the royalties from the Charleston, enough to make anyone wealthy
Bill Egan

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 3, 2009 at 7:10 pm

It looks like she only lived to the age of 31, but her husband died at the age of 102 in 1990. Quite a disparity.

Bil Egan
Bil Egan on March 3, 2009 at 7:07 pm

No, I only photographed it from outside.
By the way, another Florence Mills theatrical link with LA is the old downtown Pantages theatre, long closed and now an electronics goods store or similar, but the name Pantages can still be seen over the entrance. See:
View link

Florence Mills played there in 1920 as one of the Panama Trio
Bill Egan
http://www.florencemills.com

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 3, 2009 at 6:03 pm

I was hoping that one of the doors would be open, but it was sealed tight. Have you ever been inside of the building?

Bil Egan
Bil Egan on March 3, 2009 at 6:00 pm

Thanks for posting those, Ken. I have been trying for ages to get some info on whether the planned recdevelopment was happening but neither 20th Century Housing nor Dunbar EDC respond to messages. It’s clear from your pics that nothing has happened. The financial crisis is the likely explanation as Fannie Mae had a role in the financing. Presumably the public funding assigned still exists so perhaps things may still happen when the crisis eventually blows over.
I can tell from your last pic that Florence Mills' name is still legible on the gable end.
Best wishes
Bill Egan
http://www.florencemills.com

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 5, 2008 at 7:01 pm

That’s interesting, Warren. I didn’t know that there were other papers besides the Times on the LAPL database. I have to check that out.

Bil Egan
Bil Egan on March 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Interesting that the 1950 Florence Mills was featuring “Covan’s Stars of the future” on stage, as Willie Covan had been a close friend of Florence Mills in the 1920s and her husband had later helped finance his West Coast dance school. Another performer of that era, still performing on the West Coast today , was Herb Jeffries, whose black westerns were featured at the Florence Mills in the Thirties (before he found fame as Duke Ellington’s vocalist – main hit Flamingo).

JJFANCE
JJFANCE on March 5, 2008 at 8:00 am

Trying to figure out the size and scale of the FLorence MIlls Theater, as well as some others along central avenue such as the Tivoli and Ebony Showcase.

Also wanted to know about the whether the theaters were exclusively black or mixed? And were theaters in other parts of Los Angeles segregated, with blacks restricted to the balconies?

William
William on March 4, 2008 at 3:49 pm

What type of research on them?

Bil Egan
Bil Egan on March 4, 2008 at 3:48 pm

I presume it’s William Gabel, the originator of this thread, you’re addressing but if you want to contact me at wegan[at]pcug.org.au we can see whether there is anything useful I can share,
Best wishes

Bill Egan
http://www.florencemills.com

JJFANCE
JJFANCE on March 4, 2008 at 3:37 pm

William,

I am doing some professional research on Florence Mills Theater, Lincoln Theater, and others on Central Avenue during the 1920s-1950s…

Do you have any contact info?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 30, 2007 at 10:05 am

Here is the city directory showing the Globe at 3511:
http://tinyurl.com/2m5dq2

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 3, 2007 at 6:40 am

According to a report generated by the L.A. city planning department’s zoning information system, the building currently on this site was erected in 1912. The listing as Globe Theater in 1914 thus must refer to this same building.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 14, 2007 at 5:43 pm

The Globe Theater was listed at 3511 S. Central in the 1914 city directory.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on July 2, 2007 at 6:56 pm

Please note status change to closed.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on June 20, 2007 at 7:24 pm

Too bad we can’t get inside – I wonder what’s left.