AKA: Mercedes Theater, Central Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; Merced Hall, Central Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Kysor, Ezra F., Architect (firm); Ezra Franklin Kysor (architect)

Dates: constructed 1870

3 stories

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420 North Main Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90012-2827

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The Merced Theatre was located at 420-422 North Main Street on the Plaza of early Los Angeles; in 1891, Merced Hall had an address of 424 North Main Street according to the Los Angeles City Directory, 1891, p. 458. At certain times, the building also had the numbering 310 North Main Street.


The Merced Theatre was one of Los Angeles's most notable and elaborate early buildings that opened the same year as the Pico House Hotel next door. Pioneer Los Angeles architect Ezra F. Kysor (1835-1907) was the designer of both the Pico House and the Merced Theatre.

Building History

Merchant William Abbott built the building to house his furniture store on the first floor, the Merced Theatre on the second, and his family's living space on the top floor. He named the theatre in honor of his wife, Maria Merced Garcia.

Seatting 400 patrons, the Merced Theatre opened on 12/30/1870, with a band perfomance accompanied by local amateur singers. The Los Angeles Star stated: "The opening of the New [Abbott's] Theatre will take place on Friday, December 30, 1870, when a Grand Vocal and Instrumental Concert will be given by the 21st Regiment (Wilmington) Band, assisted by several well-known amateurs, who have kindly volunteered their services." (See Federal Writers Project of the Works Progress Administration, Los Angeles in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City of Angels, [Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011], p. 128.) On 01/30/1871, the theatre hosted its first play, a performance of "Fanchon the Cricket," a melodrama popular during the mid-19th century. Augustus Waldauer's play, made famous in the US by the New York-born actress Maggie Mitchell (1832-1918), was an adaptation of George Sand's novel La petite Fadette (1849).

Building Notes

According to the informative web site, Historic Los Angeles Theatres--Downtown, "The theatre space was 35 x 100 feet with a 35 x 25 foot stage. Four boxes lined the side walls and access was possible directly to the next-door Pico House for hotel guests." (See Historic Los Angeles Theatres--Downtown, "Merced Theatre," accessed 07/21/2017.)


Renovations to the building's front facade occurred in the 1960s. Remodeling of the interior happened about twenty years later.

PCAD id: 1519