Santa Clara Theatre

956 Franklin Street,
Santa Clara, CA 95050

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Harvey Entertainment, Westland Theatres

Architects: William Binder, Ernest Curtis

Firms: Binder & Curtis

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Casa Grande Theatre

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The Santa Clara Theatre was opened by 1950 when it was operated by the San Francisco based Westland Theatres chain. Demolished, along with nearly all of downtown Santa Clara in an urban renewal project in the late-1960’s, this theater was the work of architects Binder and Curtis, who designed several theaters in both the downtown and neighborhoods of the adjacent city of San Jose.

For a time, at least, the Santa Clara Theater was run by the same chain which operated San Jose’s Binder and Curtis-designed Hester Theater (now Towne Theater), closeby.

Contributed by Gary Parks

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

GaryParks on October 7, 2008 at 10:55 pm

The Santa Clara was originally called the Casa Grande, when built in the 1920s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Boxoffice of July 30, 1938, reported that the Harvey Amusement Company and Gerald Hardy had acquired the Casa Grande Theatre in Santa Clara, and would spend $20,000 renovating it. The house was expected to reopen in August as the Santa Clara Theatre.

AprendaPresents on March 31, 2011 at 4:03 am

I can confirm Harvey Amusement still owned the theater in 1955. I believe they owned it until it was demolished in 1963 as part of an 8-block urban renewal project. The photo posted by Ken Mc is from “Santa Clara” by Bea Lichenstein, the Images of America, Arcadia Publishing. Page 116. Margot Warburton owns the image.

TLSLOEWS on March 31, 2011 at 6:39 am

There sure have been a lot of theatres lost in cities due to urban renewal.Nice photo posted by Lost Memory.Thanks Babcock.

thecaptainb on December 24, 2013 at 6:05 am

That’s the Santa Clara theater I know and saw movies on a regular basis. It closed down around 1963 because of the urban renewal project, which turned out to be a complete failure.

Putergram on November 16, 2016 at 8:42 am

I worked at the Santa Clara Theater from 1961-June 1963. Mr. Jenkins was the manager at the time. The Usherette’s wore brocade uniforms and carried flashlights to assist patrons in finding a seat. My favorite part of the job was getting to see movies I probably would not have seen. My least favorite part was having to approach “necking” couples and tell them we had a hands off policy. I also remember priests from the University of CA coming to “screen” movies before recommending to students. All and all a great experience.

Raskul1 on December 17, 2017 at 10:30 pm

I would like to know how if it’s true or false that this theatre was not scheduled to be demolished with the downtown in the 60’s. Also why the hell is it so difficult to get pictures of what it looked like inside the theatre.

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