February 07, 2013

Photo Essay: Golden Gate Theatre (Now CVS)

A CVS Pharmacy opened in a 1927 movie palace?

In East LA, yes it did.

Although not necessarily an ideal scenario of adaptive reuse...

...the theory was that opening the former Golden Gate Theatre somehow was better than leaving it abandoned and vacant.

I quite like abandoned and vacant.

But since the surrounding retail building was severely damaged in the Whittier earthquake, 60 years after it opened and requiring demolishment, the theater that stood in the middle stood alone, and closed for business.

When driving or walking by, you can't miss it.

And at least now, you can just walk in...

...and admire the restored auditorium ceiling...

...and peer past the fluorescent lighting at the gold ornamentation.

There is no mistaking you are in a drug store, but fortunately, the balcony was retained, and all of the changes made in order to open the CVS are reversible...

...which means, conceivably, the Golden Gate could reopen one day as a theater again.

In the meantime, if you must shop (or work!) in a CVS, it might as well be this one. Everyone looks upwards, wondering if the building were some kind of church or something.

"It was a theater," I chimed in on one couple.

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  1. At least they've (somewhat) respected the original details.

  2. Wonderful! Abandoned and vacant is super cool, but impractical. Better a CVS than lost to new development, as is often the fate of so many other old buildings. I've been driving past this building for yeeeeears, wondering what would happen to it. Hurray!