927 10th Street,
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The Modesto Theatre opened on February 6, 1913, with the stage opera, “The Pirates of Penzance”. The advertisement in the Modesto Evening News also said it showed ‘The Cream Of Motion Pictures’. It was designed by Stockton based architect Ralph Morrell. There was previously an old Modesto Theatre, location unknown, mentioned in the News that opened in 1908.
On December 9, 1913, a fire estimated to cost $30,000 destroyed the Modesto Theatre. The next day W.R. Mensinger, the owner, announced plans to rebuild and said the venue would be bigger and better. It was designed by San Francisco based architect John J. Foley. The Modesto Theatre reopened on July 2, 1913, with the movie “From the Manger to the Cross”. Sometime in late-1925 it came under the control of the National Theatre Syndicate, a major player in the Northern and Central California theater turf.
On August 12, 1935, it was again greatly damaged by fire and plans were immediately put into place to rebuild. Evidently those plans were never realized because in September of 1936 a building permit was taken out to remodel the former theatre into stores, with the structure being reduced from three stories to one.
From the looks of the building today, it appears that the front third of the structure was lowered and the balcony removed. The theatre has been used for commercial stores since 1936 and has outlasted many other landmarks in Modesto. Anyone searching for it would not have to look long as this massive building, especially its back, is very visible from the surrounding streets. In 2010 it was home to a nightclub, the Copper Rhino. By 2016 it was in retail use.
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