West End Theater
324 W. 4th Street,
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Architects: J. Flood Walker
Previous Names: Walker's State Theater, State Theater, Guild Theater, State Arts Theater
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 Walker’s 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.
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