Grove Theatre

1707 Lighthouse Avenue,
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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Grove Theatre

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This was a small Spanish style theater designed by San Francisco architect Mark T. Jorgensen. The Grove Theatre opened in 1925 and had a 2 manual 4 rank style B Wurlitzer.

The organ was removed in 1950 to an Oakland church, where it remains. The theater suffered a major fire in 1951 that left only the outside walls and former rear wall of the stage. A modern cinema was built into this shell and again called the Grove Theatre.

The Grove ceased as a theater in the early 1970s when it became a paint store. Though the floor was leveled, the 1950s auditorium was largely intact. In the 1990s, the former auditorium was gutted and a second floor installed in the auditorium space with new windows cut into the original 1925 walls.

There is virtually nothing left to indicate that this building was ever the Grove Theatre of 1925 or 1951. This is not to be confused with another building facade on Lighthouse Ave. that also has "The Grove". This was the building housing the former newspaper and no relation to the late Grove Theatre.

The original Grove was part of the Monterey Peninsula theater chain that also included the Monterey State, Strand, and Monterey theaters.

Contributed by Tom DeLay

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

tomdelay on December 7, 2002 at 6:22 pm

The architect for the Grove Theatre of 1925 was Mark T. Jorgensen of San Francisco, not the SF firm of Reid Bros. The theatre originally seated 1000: 700 on the main floor, 150 in the loges and another 150 in the upper balcony. A sole surviving architect’s drawing of the auditorium shows a magnificent auditorium with mural-backed side coves, smaller side wall coves at audience level, canopied side boxes where a pipe organ would normally be installed (the Grove’s Wurlitzer was installed above the center of the proscenium arch). Two scrolled pillars flanked the proscenium opening with each being topped by a plaster California state bear.“”

GaryParks on April 8, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Last night I got to see two original pencil-on-vellum drawings of the Grove Theatre which have been owned by a friend of mine for nearly ten years, but were stored-away, inaccessible until recently. One drawing is a full sheet Longitudinal Section of the whole building, and the other has elevations of the ticket lobby and main lobby, plus a full size (!) outline drawing for an ornamental floral plaster insert panel to be used as part of the lobby decoration. The drawings reveal what a beautiful little theatre this once was, and further confirm the look shown in the rendering which Tom DeLay mentions, and which I have also seen, including the plaster bears. The drawing also confirms the structure and location of the organ chamber located above the stage, which spoke through a tone chute over the proscenium. Also shown, and thusly labeled, is a wooden ladder which climbed straight up the rear wall of the stage to access the organ chamber.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2011 at 2:38 am

Numbered streets don’t match up with the addresses on cross streets in Pacific Grove. The Grove Theatre was at the corner of Lighthouse Avenue and 17th Street. The current occupant of the former theater building appears to be a salon and day spa called Canty & Marquez, the address of which is 618 Lighthouse Avenue. Google Maps gets the pin spot on with that address.

Dramatrauma on June 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Any chance of a scan and post of the artist’s renderings of the Grove?

GaryParks on June 11, 2012 at 5:47 pm

The vellum architectural drawings of the Grove from Jorgensen’s office are very large. There is a possibility of my acquiring them as part of a business transaction, but it’s not definite. If so, I will photograph them and will be happy to post photos. Scanning them directly on a flatbed would be very expensive, due to the size.

GaryParks on June 11, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Joe Vogel: You are correct. The building housing Canty and Marquez is the former Grove Theatre. The central bay on the ground floor is where the original theatre entrance was.

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