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San Francisco Bay Guardian
Best Now-Defunct Polk Street Monument Standing on the corner of Polk and California Streets, listening to the rumble of the cable cars and facing the decaying marquee of the Royal Theater, which is flanked by the timeless Swan Oyster Depot and See's Candies storefronts, you can imagine what the old days of the neighborhood's busy center must have been like. The empty, boarded-up Royal stands as a remnant of the past. Designed by Timothy L. Pflueger, the mastermind behind most of the Bay Area's grand old movie houses including Oakland's deco palace, the Paramount, and the beloved Castro Theatre, the Royal opened in 1916 as a nickelodeon. With its purple walls, plush seats, deep red carpets, and starry motifs, the neighborhood theater had all the old-world-movie-palace charm but on a smaller, more intimate scale. Unable to keep up with the multiplying multiplexes despite its cheap admission prices, the theater closed its doors in 1998. As with many of the city's beautiful single-screen movie houses, demolition is its fate. Last year the San Francisco Planning Commission approved a proposal to build a six-story residential building on the site, with storefronts on the ground floor. Though the facade will be incorporated into the new structure, the theater, and a piece of Polk history, will sadly be gone. 1529 Polk, S.F." by Alissa Chadburn
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