Downtown Theatre

416 12th Street,
Oakland, CA 94612

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Additional Info

Architects: Alexander Aimwell Cantin, Alexander Mackenzie Cantin, Matthew O'Brien, Benjamin Marcus Priteca, Carl Werner

Firms: Cantin and Cantin

Functions: Office Space

Previous Names: Pantages Theatre, Lurie Theatre, Hippodrome Theatre, Premier Theatre, Roosevelt Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Pantages Lobby Cornice Detail

This theatre, built in 1912, is probably best-known by its original name, Pantages Theatre, though it had numerous name changes throughout its life.

Those name changes included Lurie Theatre (1923), Hippodrome Theatre (1926), Premier Theatre (1932), Roosevelt Theatre (1934), and finally the Downtown Theatre (1939 until its closure in 1947). In 1925 alterations were carried out to the plans of architectural firm Cantin & Cantin.

The building was absorbed into an expansion by the adjacent Oakland Tribune; looking up from across 12th Street, one can still see the very top and stage-fly tower of what was the auditorium of the former Pantages Theater.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

mlind on March 26, 2008 at 12:45 pm

From a male friend who worked at The Oakland Tribune in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. The newspaper morgue (library) was located in the old theater. I asked him what he remembered:

“Actually they had a false ceiling but I do have some memories of the storage area where the photo dept was. That was up in the rafters sort of and it was a cubbyhole type area. Until they moved out the false ceiling I don’t think you could have seen it. The remodel was cheesy and they did a good job of making it ugly. I understand the women’s bathroom was great but of course I was never let in.”

kencmcintyre on April 2, 2009 at 4:12 pm

Here is an ad for the Roosevelt in the Oakland Tribune, July 1938:

nonsportsnut on March 22, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I’m doing research for the Three Stooges Fan Club, on black supporting player Dudley Dickerson. He MAY have been married to Marie Dickerson, who is listed in several Oakland Times articles as a performer at the Premiere in 1933.

Does anyone have any information on her? Thanks. Please email me at:
Frank Reighter

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Various issues of Building and Industrial News in 1911 indicate that the firm of O'Brien and Werner had already drawn the plans for this building before Alexander Pantages entered the project as lessee of the theater portion. At that time, B. Marcus Priteca was brought in to modify the theater design for Pantages. Had Priteca designed the building from the ground up, I’m sure the exterior would have been far more ornate than Matthew O'Brien and Carl Werner’s restrained commercial block.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2012 at 11:37 pm

O'Brien and Werner were experienced theater architects, by the way, having already designed several San Francisco houses including the first Mission Theatre, the Princess Theatre (later the Ellis), the first post-fire Orpheum (later the Garrick), the Valencia Theatre, and the 16th Street Theatre (later the Victoria.)

CSWalczak on November 8, 2012 at 11:44 pm

This Google Books preview includes pages detailing the history of this theater with pictures: scroll down to view pp. 25-27.

DavidZornig on February 20, 2017 at 5:51 pm

1918 photo added courtesy of Philip Duhe.

rivest266 on August 3, 2018 at 2:24 pm

This opened on January 23rd, 1926 as Hippodrome. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

rivest266 on August 4, 2018 at 8:59 am

and reopened as Roosevelt on February 20th, 1935. Another ad posted.

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