AKA: Visalia Fox Theater, Visalia, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Balch and Stanbery, Architect and Engineer (firm); Clifford A. Balch (architect); Floyd Edgar Stanbery (structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1929-1930

view all images ( of 2 shown)

308 West Main Street
Visalia, CA 93291-6243

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map


The Los Angeles architectural and engineering partnership of Balch and Stanbery designed the Fox Theatre in Visalia, CA, one of many done by this firm for the Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation during the late 1920s and early 1930s. At its height, Fox West Coast had a controlling interest in 125 movie theatres on the Pacific Coast. It ran into financial and legal problems by the early 1930s, declaring bankruptcy in 02/1932. National Theatres Corporation purchased it in 1933 for $17 million. (See "West Coast Theatres Sold for $17,000,000" New York Times, 11/20/1934, p. 24.)

Building History

The Fox West Coast Theatre chain erected the 1,200-seat Visalia Fox Theatre in 1929-1930, at a cost of $225,000. They commissioned the Los Angeles architecture firm of Balch and Stanbery to design the atmospheric movie palace which opened on 02/27/1930. Balch and Stanbery designed several other theatres for Fox West Coast, including one in Riverside, CA, (1928-1929). It was designed just as talkies began to be introduced, and this theatre incorporated the latest Western Electric sound equipment available. The theatre opened on 02/27/1930 and continued to operate as a one-screen movie exhibition venue until 1976.

Building Notes

When built in 1930, the Fox Theatre had the largest three-faced clock in the world.

Tel: 559.625.1369 (2011)


Owners of the Fox Theatre in Visalia divided its interior into three projection rooms in 1976. It operated as a tri-plex showing first-run fare for another 20 years, when the completion of a 12-screen theatre at the Sequoia Mall forced its closure. A local preservation group formed quickly after the Fox closed and managed to collect enough money to reopen it as a performing arts center by 11/20/1999. (See Visalia Fox Theatre.org, "History of the Fox: The Glory of Yesteryear," (click link for "General Fox History," accessed 02/02/2018.)

PCAD id: 16839