West End Theater

324 West 4th Street,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

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West End Theatre

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A 1915 article in The Santa Ana Register reported that L.A. Schlesinger was closing his Temple Theater to make way for the opening of the West End Theater on July 15, 1915. Mr. Schlesinger said that when the picture industry was in its infancy any hall or store building would do and the West End is especially designed for the showing of “cinematography” productions and “The liberal patronage of the Temple Theater resulted in the construction of the West End Theater.”

Another published account at the time said the theater’s cost was $12,000 and the architect was J. Flood Walker of Santa Ana. An article from 1927 says that the owner was E.D. Yost and that he was placing the West End Theater on the National Universal Theatre Circuit.

In 1935 when the theater was owned by C.E. Walker, and called the State Theater, it was remodeled with a new marquee and neon signs.

During the 1960’s, when it was named the Guild Theater, it showed art and foreign movies. In 1966 it received a modern metal façade and marquee. In the 1970’s it was called the State Arts Theater and showed adult movies.

It ended its days as a theater in 1978 with the Guild Theater name restored. During its last days, downtown blocks were leveled to make room for government buildings but the West End Theater survived. After the removal of its marquee and modern façade, The West End Theater now appears as it was originally meant to be and is occupied by businesses. It is in an historic district that was put on The National Register of Historic Places in 1984.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 11, 2004 at 6:24 am

The seating capacity given for Walker’s State Theatre in 1941 is 700.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 15, 2005 at 5:23 am

There is a better than even chance that the correct name of the architect of this theater is John Walker Flood, rather than J. Flood Walker. I have seen both names on cards in the L.A. Public Library database, but I believe J. Flood Walker to have been an error. If someone has access to an old Santa Ana City Directory, or a copy of Who’s Who in California from the 1910s-1920s, the mystery might be cleared up.

mhshapiro
mhshapiro on July 13, 2006 at 6:09 pm

I recently posted pictures on Webshots of the West End Theater, the Fox West Coast Theater, and the Yost Theater in Santa Ana as they currently appear (July 2006).

The name of the album is “Downtowns – Central Orange County, CA” and the URL is:

View link

There also is a picture of an old theater in Orange, CA in the album.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 5, 2007 at 7:29 am

Here is a 1970 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/23cg9n

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 28, 2008 at 9:21 pm

Here is a May 1969 ad from the LA Times:
http://tinyurl.com/4hcrmn

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on August 29, 2012 at 8:48 pm

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 13, 2013 at 1:55 am

I’ve come across enough period references to the architect of this theater to be convinced that his name is indeed J. Flood Walker. One item is this from the March 17, 1915, issue of Building and Engineering News:

“SANTA ANA, ORANGE CO., CAL.— "Theatre. 1 story and base, brick. $25,000. Architect. J. Flood Walker. 303 East 4th street, Santa Ana. Owners, West End Improvement Association. The building will be erected at the corner of 4th and Birch streets and will cover a large ground area. There will be two stores besides the theatre. Interior will be finished in pine and ornamental plaster. There will be a special ventilating system, special electric work and metal window sash and frames. Exterior of the building will be faced with pressed brick. Plans are now being prepared.”

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