Today’s Newsreel

posted by Ross Melnick on January 17, 2005 at 5:23 am

Comments (1)

GaryParks on January 18, 2005 at 1:24 pm

Re. the first article on the list, about the Harding Theatre: once again here we have a developer and his architect giving false statements that a building is not a contributing fixture to the neighborhood. Not so. I was in the Harding theatre several times in about 2002 to help remove all the art deco light fixtures and some of the seats because the church congregation was going to throw them away. The church had no intention of removing or damaging any of the theatre’s original Gothic styled plasterwork, which was (is?) 95 percent still extant and intact, with the ornately coffered ceiling still bearing what is either its original decorative paint, or perhaps a second early redecoration.
The underside of the balcony, with two covelit domes, is intact, and the organ grilles, fronted by false balconettes, are likewise intact, as is the proscenium for the most part, the latter being slightly altered.
The Harding was a product of the prolific theatre architects the Reid Bros. It’s not their finest theatre, but it is a handsome building and comparatively well preserved, when you compare it to the remodelings which most of their other theatres underwent in later years.
As a footnote, the fixtures we removed were resold for restoration and subsequent sale, save for two ceiling fixtures, which I am hoping to see ultimately installed in the entrance vestibule of the Del Mar Theatre, Santa Cruz, and the illuminated restroom signs (which dated from the Harding’s 1920s opening) which are in the process of being refurbished as illuminated balcony directional signs for the Golden State Theatre, Monterey. Both abovementioned theatres are in various stages of restoration.
While I personally am too involved in the Golden State project to add another theatre preservation project to my plate, I heartily applaud any effort to make sure the Harding remains as some sort of public assembly structure, and see a sensitive adaptation of the historical ambiance.

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