AKA: Tower Theater, Tower District, Fresno, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Heinsbergen Decorating Company, Interior Designers (firm); Lee, S. Charles Architect (firm); Trewhitt, Shields and Fisher, Building Contractors (firm); Antoon B. Heinsbergen (interior designer/muralist); Simeon Charles Lee (architect)

Dates: constructed 1938-1939

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1201 North Wishon Avenue
Tower District, Fresno, CA 93728

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Building History

A. Emory Wishon (1882-1948), an executive with the giant San Francisco-based utility, Pacific Gas and Electric (P, G & E), built and owned the 900-seat Tower Theatre, commissioning S. Charles Lee (1899-1990) to design it. (Lee also designed the earlier Tower Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, [1925-1927].) The Tower Theatre opened to the public on 12/15/1939. Fox West Coast Theatres rented the venue to show its films initially.

The Dutch-born, Southern California artist, Anthony (Antoon) B. Heinsbergen (1894-1981), painted murals for the interior of the Tower Theatre. In addition to the theatre, this building also housed space for eight stores. Fresno general contractors, Trewhitt, Shields and Fisher, built the Tower Theatre.


Renovated in 1989-1990, this theatre is at the center of the "Tower District," a neighborhood of shops, cafes, and pubs. Reopened on 03/13/1990, this renovation won several awards from architecture and historic preservation groups.

National Register of Historic Places: 92001276 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 7473