AKA: Apollo Theatre, Crocker-Amazon, San Francisco, CA; Walgreens Drug Store, 965 Geneva Avenue, Crocker-Amazon, San Francisco, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Reid Brothers, Architects (firm); James William Reid (architect); Merritt Jonathan Reid (architect)

Dates: constructed 1928

3 stories, total floor area: 29,785 sq. ft.

965 Geneva Avenue
Excelsior, San Francisco, CA 94112

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This Spanish Colonial Revival theatre served 960 and was designed to serve the Ackerman & Harris Circuit, vaudeville exhibitors. The Reid Brothers, Architects, produced the design for the Amazon Theatre, one of the last of over 20 theatres created by the firm between 1896 and 1931. It was named for the neighborhood in which it was located, the "Crocker Amazon Tract."

Building History

The 29,785-square-foot building opened as the "Amazon Theatre" in 1928. A notice in Billboard (vol 40, 1928, p. 48), noted that ground was broken for the Amazon Theatre in San Francisco's Crocker-Amazon Tract. This neighborhood, developed by the Crocker Estate Company, experienced appreciable growth by 1913. (See San Francisco Call, "Crocker-Amazon Tract Stirring," vol. 114, no. 146, 11/01/1913, p. 8.) The theatre operated as the Amazon at least until the early 1950s; subsequently, it was renamed the "Apollo Theatre." The Apollo closed in 1978, but reopened again in 1982, exhibiting Hindi-language films. This theatre added a new screen that could project 70-mm Bollywood films. A Bahai church occupied the building after this during the 1980s, and then the facility began to show films aimed at a Samoan clientele.

More recently, a Walgreens Drug Store chain remodeled and occupied the theatre's former space. Walgreens has been here since at least 03/2008.

Building Notes

In the early 1940s, the Amazon Drug Company maintained a drug store next to the theatre in the same building. In addition to the cinema, the Amazon building had five rentable storefronts on its Geneva Avenue facade.

A note in the journal, Western Machinery and Steel World, vol. 19, 1928, (p. 97) stated: "R.P. Davis, archt., has plans for theater on Geneva Ave., nr., Paris St., for F.B. Russi." (See "San Francisco," Western Machinery and Steel World, vol. 19, 1928, p. 97.)

The Cinema Treasures.org web site noted in 2018 that the Apollo Theatre could accommodate 963 visitors. (See Cinema Treasures.org, "Apollo Theatre," accessed 10/18/2018.)

San Francisco County Assessor Number: 6409028

PCAD id: 20406