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Golden Gate Theater
Alternative Title
Los Angeles County Building Survey Photo Collection;
Zimmerman, Tom
Photographs taken for Historic American Buildings Survey or the Historic Landscapes Survey: documentation is on file
Date Created and/or Issued
Publication Information
Heritage Documentation Programs (U.S.).; Historic American Buildings Survey
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.; HABS documentation available at
Located at 5176 East Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles, the Golden Gate Theater was built in 1927, designed by William and Clifford A. Balch, whose other notable contributions include the El Rey Theater on Wilshire Boulevard and the Fox Theater in Pomona. The Golden Gate Theater was designed as a playhouse and movie theater and was built in the Spanish Baroque Revival Churrigueresque-style replicating the entrance to the University of Salamanca in Spain. Originally, the theater was accessed by entrances into the courtyard of the historic Vega Building, an L-shaped retail and apartment building, which surrounded the theater. Damage from the 1987 Whittier earthquake caused the Vega Building to be deemed unsafe and later demolished, and left the 1,500 seat Golden Gate Theater vacant. Many battles followed over the preservation and re-development of the historic site. It is one of a few neighborhood movie palaces left in Southern California and is the only building in East Los Angeles listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2012, the building was re-opened and adapted for use as a CVS retail pharmacy.
View of the Golden Gate Theater backstage area. Partially seen, at right, is one of the curved walls that flank the stage and proscenium arch, decorated with gold painted grilles and ornamentation on its balcony. Years of being vacant have left the interior of the theater in disrepair and subjected to vandalism.
1 negative :safety ;13 x 10 cm.
Photographic safety negatives
Los Angeles County Building Survey Collection;
Golden Gate Theater (East Los Angeles, Calif.)
Motion picture theaters--California--East Los Angeles
Theaters--California--East Los Angeles
Auditoriums--California--East Los Angeles
Architecture--California--East Los Angeles--Spanish influences
Historic buildings--California--East Los Angeles
Interiors--California--East Los Angeles
Stages (Platforms)
Balconies--California--East Los Angeles
Grilles--California--East Los Angeles
Graffiti--California--East Los Angeles
East Los Angeles (Calif.)
Historic American Buildings Survey Collection photographs
Heritage Documentation Programs Collection photographs
Balch, William G
Balch, Clifford A

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