AKA: Fox Anaheim Theatre, Anaheim, CA; Fox Anaheim Theater, Anaheim, CA

Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Milwaukee Building Company (firm); Philip W. Holler (architect); Mendel S. Meyer (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1920-1921

2 stories

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229 West Center Street
Anaheim Colony Historic District, Anaheim, CA 92805

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The Fox West Coast Theatre was sited on the north side of West Center Street near Lemon Street. West Center Street in Anaheim, CA, was renamed Lincoln Avenue.

Building History

This cinema was built in 1920 as the California Theatre for the Anaheim jeweler and optometrist Robert Theodore Staniszewski (02/12/1882-08/19/1925) who changed his name to the Anglicized "Theodore Roberts" in 1911. Roberts migrated to the US from Germany, leaving Antwerp, Belgium, and arriving first in Boston, MA in 1905. By 1919 if not before, Roberts owned real estate on Center Street in Downtown Anaheim. (He operated his jewelry store in the Central Building at 105 East Center Street c. 1915.) The Southwest Builder and Contractor reported in 1919: "Anaheim--Theodore Roberts has had plans prepared for a one-story brick store building to be erected at Center and Lemon streets. I will contain three store rooms." (See "Business Buildings," Southwest Builder and Contractor, vol. 53, no. 16, 04/18/1919, p. 18.) Roberts would build a two-floor building with three store fronts abreast, the end unit having a tall arched window lighting the theatre lobby.

Roberts leased a good portion of space to Sol Lesser (1890-1980), the Gore Brothers--Abraham L. (1884-1951) and Michael (1877-1953)--and Adolph Ramish (1862-1944) and their West Coast Theatres Company. Formed in 1920, West Coast Theatres operated this theatre from 1920 until about 1929 as the California. The venue became known as the "Fox Anaheim Theatre" in about 1929 following the merger of William Fox's Fox Film Corporation (and its Fox Theater Corporation affiliate) and West Coast Theatres in 1928-1929 to form Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation.Fox West Coast Theatres Corporation experiencedfinancial difficulties and antitrust problems during the 1930s, and was purchased by theSkouras Brothers in 1932-1933.

Much later, the National General Theatres chain operated it.

The Mann Theatre chain operated the Fox Anaheim in 1975-1976 just before it was closed in 1977.

Building Notes

The Fox Anaheim Theatre was a small, one-screen venue that seated 735. The buillding had a brick facing on its second story and a red tile, compound hipped roof over its parapet only. The front facade was broken into three storefronts, composing three bays. The two westernmost storefronts had front doors located centrally, flanked by fixed plate glass display windows. Above these two storefronts, on the second floor, paris of double-hung windows lit the spaces. The easternmost storefront admitted patrons to the California Theatre. Over the main theatre entrance, a grand arched window admitted light into the lobby. This arched opening was blocked when a new theatre marquee was installed in the 1950s.

In 1926, the dark brick facing contrasted with the white casings surrounding the belt course separating the first and second stories, pilasters, and all window trim. This same color scheme existed in the neighboring building to the west, suggesting, perhaps, that they might have been owned by the same person. At this time, a fruit and vegetable market occupied the westernmost storefront, while the California Cafe operated in the middle one.


The Fox Anaheim Theatre was torn down in late 1978. (See "Wrecking Crews to Lower Final Curtain at the Fox," Anaheim Register, 10/15/1978, p. B1 and B3.)

PCAD id: 8968