AKA: Los Angeles Unifies School District, District G Offices, Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles, CA; Washington Mutual Bank, 3714 South La Brea Avenue Branch, Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Wilson, Lewis E., Architect (firm); Lewis Eugene Wilson (architect)

Dates: constructed 1948-1949

1 story

3741 South La Brea Avenue
Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles, CA 90016

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Architect Lewis E. Wilson designed the 1,800-seat Baldwin Theatre in 1948 and erected it in 1949; it opened on 08/10/1949, operated by exhibitors Franchon and Marco of the Paramount Stage Shows. In its later years, during the 1960s-1970s, a succession of operators included Statewide Theatres, Century Theatres, Loew's, General Cinema Corporation (GCC), Royal Entertainment, Incorporated (c. 1981-1990), and, after 1992, Inner City Cinemas, a partnership of American Multi Cinema, Incorporated, and the Economic Resources Corporation; Inner City Cinemas ended the Baldwin Theatre's operations in 1994.

The Baldwin Theatre was distinguished by its pair of arches supporting a hanging flat roof over the lobby. Under this roof, a portion of the lobby was a paved patio. The auditorium had an arched roof composed of discrete shells whose joints were lit. Lighting in the spaces between the shells created a dramatic, ribbed effect on the interior. (These lighted ribs comprised some of the only decoration on the austere interior.) The auditorium originally had three columns of seats (the center group being the widest) separated by two aisles. The seats occupied a grade sloping down from back to front.

The lobby of the Baldwin Theatre was removed at some point. The auditorium was divided into a tri-plex after 1980 (perhaps in 1981 when Royal Entertainment, Incorporated, took over operations), reducing the seating to 970. The arches were removed when the building became a branch for Washington Mutual in the 2000s. At the same time, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) also had its District Offices for District G in the rear auditorium of the Baldwin Theatre. Its telephone number was: 323.421.2800 (2011);

Portions of the building have been demolished;

PCAD id: 664