Main Street Theatre

307 East Main Street,
Visalia, CA 93279

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Main Street Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

It’s hard to believe that this theater, with its rather ordinary exterior, was designed by famous theater architect S. Charles Lee. Opened in 1949 as the Visalia Theatre, showing John Wayne in "She Wore A Yellow Ribbon," its quonset hut auditorium originally seated more than 600.

Today it pales when compared to the well-known Visalia Fox, four blocks away, whose architect is unknown. The Fox, however, seems to be very similiar to the atmospheric theaters Lee designed for the Fox circuit in the 1930s.

Since 1997 the theater has been home to the family-oriented Enchanted Playhouse whose mission is to "Enchant, surprise, excite and amuse audiences, young and old." The theater is also available for rental to the community.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

GaryParks on June 11, 2002 at 2:10 pm

Just for the record, the Visalia Fox, mentioned above, was designed by Balch and Stanberry, though it indeed has design elements in common with theatres designed by Lee, such as the Bakersfield Fox.

valvann on October 5, 2005 at 11:26 am

Gary, what is your source for “Balch & Stanberry” as designers? (newspaper, building plans?)

Also, does any one have a photo of this theater from the front?


tomdelay on October 5, 2005 at 12:44 pm

I am not about to speak for Gary (who is on a trip to Egypt right now), but the Fox Theatre in Hanford AND the Fox Theatre in Visalia were both designed by Balch and Stanberry. Motion Picture World of 1930 had floor plans of both the Hanford and Visalia Fox Theatres and both were clearly designed by B & S. The Visalia Fox folks have a fine book out (presumably available from the Friends of the Fox website)and this book also clearly states the B & S firm as architects.

tomdelay on October 5, 2005 at 1:21 pm

For the record, the Visalia Fox Theatre website is:

kencmcintyre on October 25, 2005 at 9:30 am

Here are some pictures from the UCLA Digital Collection:

View link

View link

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kencmcintyre on October 5, 2007 at 11:50 am

In 1963, the operator was West Side-Valley Theaters, out of San Francisco. General manager was Roy Copper. WS-V also ran the Grand in Visalia, which I am going to add as I don’t see it listed on CT.

kencmcintyre on January 23, 2008 at 7:05 am

It looks like the original UCLA/Lee site has been taken down. Here are two photos from another UC site:

liljim on April 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Other then kencmcintyre comment on 4 Oct 2007 no mention has been made of the Grand Theatre, ┬┐Was there a theatre by that name? Perhaps it was a rename of another theatre, just curious.

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