Palace Theatre

1445 23rd Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94606

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Palace Theater, Oakland

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The Palace Theatre was opened in 1923, and closed in 1952. It was purchased by the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in 1953, and they occupied the building until 2013. In summer of 2014 it was reopened as a live performance venue.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

gsmurph on October 28, 2003 at 9:05 pm

The Palace is alive and well (as a building); it has long been a church.
Exterior (similar is some respects to S.F.’s Coliseum) appears intact though in need of some touching up; hopefully the interoir remains impressive as well.

gsmurph on November 8, 2003 at 7:04 pm

The Palace was built in 1923 and closed about 1953.

gsmurph on January 17, 2004 at 11:25 am

The former Palace Theater is home to the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.

MADDRICK on April 30, 2005 at 9:56 am

The Palace had a Spanish decor inside. The side walkways were under an arches What fascinated me as a kid…was the ceiling..Stars would glow in the darkened auditorium.

kencmcintyre on February 25, 2009 at 6:57 pm

Here is part of a June 26, 1947 article in the Oakland Tribune:

A flamboyant dragon-decorated jacket led police last night to a 24-year-old medically discharged Navy veteran who confessed to the gunless holdup of the Palace Theater, 1445 23rd Avenue, two hours before. The youth, Donville Greene, of 2015 48th Avenue, simulated a gun in his pocket to force the theater manager, Charles Menapace of 1054 105th Avenue, to hand over $170 in the theater office, police said. Then Greene made Menapace accompany him out of the theater and several blocks to 20th Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.

Greene was traced to his home by Police Officers James Lawson and Herbert Scares by a description of the green dragon embroidered khaki jacket he wore. They remembered they had seen a youth in such a jacket while patrolling their beat and traced him to his home. At the police station he wept with remorse while he told officers he held up the theater because “I can’t hold a job and I needed the money. "Now I’ll never be able to hold a job. What I did tonight has made me a criminal and I’ll get 20 years.”

Police said Greene gave the money to his wife, Bernice, an expectant mother. They said she had $152 when he was arrested. Police said that Greene entered the lobby of the Palace Theater and asked Miss Norma Rodrigues, 22, of 1929 East 24th Street, head usherette, for the manager. When Menapace came Greene told him he had a .45 caliber gun and, threatening his life, forced the manager upstairs to his office. While the holdup was taking place one of the employees of the theater walked in and was told everything was all right. After the robbery Greene reportedly went io his parents' home at 2019 Foothill Boulevard and left the jacket there before going to his residence.

celaniasdawn on December 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

I am so happy to see that this theater is still there. When it closed, the neighborhood was rough. It closed because people were afraid to go into the neighborhood, 23rd and E.14th was one of the first neighborhoods to slip in the mid 50’s in Oakland. I visited for the first time just last week in 40 years and it is worse! Just a few blocks up the street, the police were investigating a gang shooting. It is still a church, and I knocked on the door wanting to see the inside. A really nice gentleman let me in and let me look around. I can’t believe that the snack bar is still there, to the left when you first walk in. The lobby, still looks the same, with the staircase leading to the balcony, with the original blue carpeting, just the way I remembered it! The lighting fixtures are still there. The restrooms look the same, it has been whitewashed over in some spots, but the interior is spotless, and well maintained. The auditorium looks like a step back in time. The ceiling that had star lights are still there, the murals are all gone and whitewashed over, but the balcony seats are all still there, and there were arches and all still there and intact. It was remarkable. When I stepped back out onto 23rd avenue and saw the reality of life, it sure was fun to be transported back in time when I was in there. It was tired inside, but what a wonderful time to step back inside there

robertcampbell on August 22, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Good news! The Palace is being reopened for stage performances.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2014 at 7:11 pm

The Facebook photo page for Zoe Jakes House of Tarot has two recent photos of the auditorium of the Palace Theatre. The are no seats on the main floor, but there are in the balcony. It doesn’t look as thought here’s been any restoration, but the building appears sound and the atmospheric decor is intact, though painted a uniform beige with a bit of dark brown trim.

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