AKA: Alhambra Theater, Sacramento, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Starks and Flanders, Architects (firm); Edward Francis Flanders (architect); Leonard Frank Starks (architect)

Dates: constructed 1926-1927, demolished 1973

1101 Alhambra Boulevard
East Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 95816

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The Sacramento architectural firm of Starks and Flanders designed the Alhambra Theatre in 1926-1927. This was an early commission for the pair, who formed their partnership in 1925. This was one of many theatres named the Alhambra on the West Coast, named for the romantic palace/fortress complex in Granada, Andalusia, Spain.

Building History

The Online Archive of California and the California State Library noted in its "Guide to the Leonard F. Starks Collection, 1916-1923" that Leonard Starks spent extra time on the Alhambra's acoustics, as it would become an early Sacramento theatre showing talkies or sound motion pictures: "Mr. Starks also designed the Alhambra Theater at what was then 31st and K Streets. He laid out the details of the theater's elegant interior and later supervised the construction. The Alhambra, Moorish in design, was opened to a gala crowd in 1927 with a 60-piece orchestra and the first talking picture on the West Coast. Mr. Starks employed an acoustical engineer to help in design of the theater--a new idea at the time." (See Online Archive of California (OAC), "Guide to the Leonard F. Starks Collection, 1916-1923," accessed 10/13/2016.)

Building Notes

The Alhambra seated about 1,850; theatre historian, David Naylor, in his American Picture Palaces The Architecture of Fantasy, [New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981], p. 217, stated that the Alhambra had 1,974 seats. Naylor also listed as Starks and Flanders as the architecture design firm. It had California's first permanently installed movie sound system, the Vitaphone, that was installed just after the theater's opening 09/24/1927; the Alhambra was included on the National Register of Historic Places, to little avail, as it was torn down.


Light fixtures and architectural details from the Alhambra were bought by Pietro and Barbara Torza in 1982 during the design of Harlow's, a supper club in Sacramento, CA, 2708 J Street, Sacramento, CA Phone: (916)-441-4693;


The City of Scaramento demolished the Alhambra in 1973; a Safeway Supermarket (built in 1973) now stands on the lot.

National Register of Historic Places: 73002250 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 767