California Theatre

345 South First Street,
San Jose, CA 95131

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California Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1927, this 1,848 seat former movie palace closed in 1973 after over 50 years of showing films. After a recent restoration project by architectural firm ELS Architects, the California Theatre is now the permanent home of the Opera San Jose and seats 1,200.

Contributed by Ross Melnick

Recent comments (view all 49 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 22, 2008 at 6:46 pm

That was during the depression so it doesn’t surprise me very much.

spectrum on February 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm

The THSA has a large photo gallery of photos of theatres from their 2008 Conclave in the San Francisco region, at

Here are links to their photos of the California Theatre:

View link – Interior – lobby
View link – Lobby
View link – Lobby
View link – Auditorium seat
View link – Auditorium Detail
View link – Main Lobby
View link – Main Lobby
View link – Lobby window
View link – Main Lobby
View link – Auditorium Ceiling
View link – Proscenium
View link – Auditorium sidewalls
View link – Upper proscenium – sunburst
View link – Proscenium
View link – exterior
View link – vertical sign , marquee

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on February 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm

This is another photo of the California Theater.

kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 1:39 pm

The California as it appeared in 1997:
View link

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on April 27, 2009 at 11:30 am

The year given for this photo is 1942.

DonLewis on August 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm

From the 1940s a photo of the California Theatre in San Jose.

terrywade on September 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Someone from the Fox California needs to do some tree trimming out side as the great big vertical neon California sign is blocked by tree limbs and blocked from one side of the street.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 6, 2013 at 11:29 am

Photos of the restored California Theatre can be seen on this page at the web site of ELS Architecture and Urban Design, the firm that handled the renovation project. The project included an entirely new stage tower and two new buildings to augment the theater’s production space and public areas. The web page has a plan of the ground floor showing the changes.

ELS also designed restoration projects for the Portland Theatre in Portland, Oregon, now Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall; The Fox Oakland Theatre; the restoration of the Grand Theatre at Tracy, California, as part of the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts; and the recent renovation of the former AMC Kabuki multiplex in San Francisco for Sundance Cinemas.

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