Palace Theater

318 W. 7th Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90014

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Functions: Retail

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Palace Theatre, Seventh Street, Los Angeles

This Palace Theater was the first theatre in Los Angeles to have this name. It was built in 1910 in the 300 block of West 7th Street, on the south side. It’s location was across the alley immediately west of Loew’s State Theatre.

The two theaters were never neighbors, though. In 1920, before the Loew’s State Theatre was opened, the Palace Theater was remodeled into retail space for the Vogue Millinery Company and the Model Cloak and Suit House. The building still exists today as a GNC General Nutrition Center store.

Contributed by Joe Vogel

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 25, 2005 at 7:59 pm

This picture from the USC digital archive, Seventh Street looking west from Broadway, is labeled 1921, but must have been slightly earlier, as demolition of the buildings at the southwest corner, where Loew’s State Theatre was to be built that year, had not yet begun.

Beyond those doomed buildings, just right of center in the picture, can be seen the front of the Palace Theatre on Seventh Street, adjacent to the alley. Also of interest, the roof of a building on Seventh just beyond Hill Street has on its roof a large sign advertising the Alhambra Theatre, on Hill Street south of Seventh.

A bit to the left that sign can be seen the back wall of another theatre, which must have been located on the east side of Grand Avenue. Although the sign painted on its fly tower reads either “Strand Theatre” or (more likely) “Grand Theatre.” It is likely that this is the theatre originally called the Mozart, which opened in 1913 at 730 South Grand Avenue.

vokoban on December 25, 2005 at 4:56 pm

Here’s a few more concrete dates for the short life of this theater:

(Feb. 21, 1916)
Christening Of The New Palace Theater Auspicious.
On Seventh street between Hill and Broadway there is much traffic both by day and by night, a circumstance which will bring popularity and shekels to the new Palace Theater which opened in that block yesterday, while the painters were still at work on its shining front.

Not because it was new and not because it had something wondrous and enchanting to exhibit, but because it is extraordinarilly located, the Palace was filled all afternoon and evening. Today, tomorrow and for a long time to come it can hope for big crowds on accunt of the quality of “Undine,” the picture used for the christening of the house.

(Aug. 1, 1920)
Through the same realty firm(R.F. and H.K. Huntsberger) a ten-year lease has been secured on the Palace Theater, at 317 West Seventh street by the Vogue Millinery Company and the Model Cloak and Suit House from Otto Thum of Santa Monica. The building will be taken over by the new lessees on Jan. 19 of next year, upon the expiration of the lease held by the Palace Theater. Extensive alterations and imporvements, including a new front to the building, are planeed. The walls of the building will be raised, and the structure will be divided into two storerooms. The total rental of the building for the ten-year period amounts to $450,000, while the improvements which are planned will cost about $50,000.

(Jan. 16, 1921)
“Who’s to Blame?” is to close this evening at the Palace Theater. At the same time the house will be closed permanently, on account of the expiration of the lease, it is announced. “Who’s to Blame?” deals in and unusually frank manner with social problems and point out the injustice toward the wronged woman. The story was written by Wycliffe A. Hill, president of the Photoplaywrights' League of Americal. Edward Coxen and Enid Markey are the featured players.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 25, 2005 at 9:30 pm

Exact opening and closing dates! Excellent! The newspaper report got the theatre’s address wrong, though. 317 would have placed it on the north side of the street. It was definitely on the south side. Also, by zooming in on the picture from the USC archives, I see that the Palace used the spelling “Theatre” on its blade sign, rather than the “Theater” spelling which I used (and which I got from an abstract of a period L.A. Times article) when I originally added it.

vokoban on December 25, 2005 at 11:02 pm

I looked at the photo from your link, but I dont' see the ‘blade’ sign. When I think of ‘blade’ I think of deco, and that wouldn’t be until about 5 years after this. Please educate…..

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 26, 2005 at 6:24 am

Vertical signs shaped like actual knife blades, with a curve at the top, did only become popular with the arrival of art deco and (even more) art moderne, but any vertical name sign can be called a blade— for example, this one, on San Jose’s California Theatre.

vokoban on January 2, 2006 at 11:25 am

I still haven’t figured out how to insert links to other theaters on this site, but if you look at some new information I posted for the Palace of Pictures Theater, it talks a little about that theater moving and turning into the Palace at this location.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 5, 2006 at 7:10 am

vokoban: in case nobody has gotten around to answering your question somewhere else (I’ve had a couple of busy days myself), the FAQ about how to add links is right here.

A more complete explanation of UBB code is available here. I’m more accustomed to making links with HTML, myself, and I’m only just now becoming accustomed to the UBB used at Cinema Treasures. The UBB italics and quote tags work here, but I haven’t tried the bullet list and right now is the first time I’ve done bold. I don’t think the site allows images to be displayed on the boards, though.

kencmcintyre on April 8, 2008 at 4:27 pm

The blue building is 318. GNC is 316. The two businesses may occupy one building.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2008 at 6:33 pm

The County Assessor’s office says that the 5274 sq. ft. building at 316 W. 7th St. was built in 1910, with an effective building date of 1913. The City’s ZIMAS report for the property just says 1910. Both include the addresses 316, 318, and 320 as belonging to the same parcel. All one building. I guess the function should be listed as retail.

AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 8:44 pm

Interestingly, “The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David L. Junchen notes (on pg. 628) that a two-manual, 15-rank Smith theatre pipe organ was installed in a “Palace Th.” in Los Angeles. The book does not give any more details, or say when the organ was installed.

Smith apparently installed most of their organs between about 1916 and 1926.

Since there were two Palace Theatres in Los Angeles open during this time, and since I am not sure which “Palace Theatre” he meant, so I will put this on both theatres' pages for now.

In my personal opinion, however, the organ was probably installed in the larger of the two “Palace” theatres, since the largest two organs installed by Smith (of which the size is known) were both 16 ranks, and this one is listed as 15 ranks, meaning it would probably be for a fairly large house. Most of the firm’s other organs, of which the size of the organ is known, were under 10 ranks.

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