Monrovia Theatre

314 S. Myrtle Avenue,
Monrovia, CA 91016

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Associated Theatres, Fox West Coast Theatres

Architects: Sanson Milligan Cooper

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Colonial Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Monrovia Theatre

The Colonial Theatre was opened on February 20, 1920. It was taken over by Associated Theatres, a new chain headed by C.L. Langley on February 21, 1926. Langley was a former investor in the West Coast Theatres chain. By 1937 it had been renamed Monrovia Theatre and was a district 2 Fox house.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 20 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 31, 2005 at 9:45 pm

Daily Variety of September 30, 1941 announced that the Monrovia Theatre had been acquired by Fox-West Coast Theatres, so the theatre was operating under that name by that time.

AJG: I’ve found additional references to the Mission Theatre. It was located on East Olive Avenue, and opened in 1910. It must have been built as a live theatre, as a 1914 reference says that as part of a remodeling by the new owner, Mr. J.C. Kuert, of Los Angeles, a “modern operating room” (meaning a projection booth) was being added. A balcony with an additional 150 seats was added at the same time.

I have also found another reference to the Colonial Theatre. It opened in 1920. The 1921 remodeling included “the construction of a complete stage.” I don’t know if this means that the theatre had previously lacked a stage altogether, or merely had an inadequate stage. It may have opened as a nickelodeon. As I’ve been unable to pin down a location for the Colonial, or a construction date for the Monrovia Theatre, I can’t yet eliminate the possibility that the Colonial and the Monrovia were the same theatre under different names.

kencmcintyre on November 18, 2005 at 6:00 pm

From the Pomona Public Library:

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 19, 2005 at 5:11 am

Interesting. That picture from the Pomona Library includes a Van de Kamp’s bakery up the street, but it’s missing its windmill.

kencmcintyre on December 2, 2005 at 11:48 pm

It was solar powered.

kencmcintyre on April 6, 2008 at 1:14 am

The building is now an antique store. I went inside, and it was a decent sized space. There is a new multiplex about a block away.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 6, 2008 at 11:23 pm

The L.A. County Assessor’s office gives the original construction date of the building at 314 S. Myrtle Avenue as 1919, with an effective construction date of 1950, indicating a major remodeling at that time. I still have some question as to whether or not the Monrovia is the same theater as the one that opened as the Colonial in early 1920. That opening date would fit well with the 1919 construction date of the Monrovia Theatre’s building.

Are there any old Film Daily Yearbooks listing the both the Colonial and the Monrovia at the same time, or showing an address for the Colonial that differs from that of the Monrovia? The name Monrovia was in use for this theater at least as early as 1941.

CSWalczak on December 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

According to this article: View link the Monrovia opened as the Colonial in 1920; it has a picture that will enlarge if clicked upon. The Lyric, which has been mentioned above, opened in 1925 and later became the Crest.

BillCounter on March 18, 2011 at 1:59 pm

It’s in the 1923, 24 and 25 city directories as the Colonial at 314 S. Myrtle. It’s at #316 in the 1927 directory.

It’s listed as the Monrovia at #316 in the 1937 through the 1948 directories.

How about another nearby theatre, the Elite? It’s in the 1911 city directory at 217 S. Myrtle Ave, Monrovia.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 24, 2014 at 12:30 am

The aka Colonial Theatre should be added for this house, per CSWalczak and BillCounter’s information in the previous comments.

This item from the July 23, 1919, issue of Building & Engineering News most likely pertains to the Colonial Theatre:

“MONROVIA, Los Angeles Co., Cal. Class ‘C’ motion picture theatre, 88x54. Owner — Mrs. Castle. Architect— S. M. Cooper, 802 Story Bldg., Los Angeles.”
The original building being only 88 feet deep would have left plenty of room for the stage house that was added in 1921. Sanson Milligan Cooper appears to have started out as a contractor and gradually eased into architecture in the late teens and early twenties.

Zeke on September 17, 2023 at 12:01 am

Thanks to the Monrovia Historical Society Legacy Project and Sandy B. for finding the May 1922 Colonial Theater Program. Does anyone know the organist “Miss Johnson”? Was there a small (4 ranks) Robert Morton organ installed in the theater and then moved to the mortuary behind the theater?

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