Recreation & Entertainment


The Theater District is a neighborhood in San Francisco named for the
stage theaters that lie there. The area roughly covers the border between the Union Square shopping district and the Tenderloin neighborhood.
The name Theater District is actually only used by those attempting to attract customers into the area – most notably real estate agencies and hotels –
and tourists. —from Wikipedia

California Theatre, 430 Bush St between Kearny and Grant, c. 1880

Built by Bank of California founder William Ralston in 1869, the Theatre had a gorgeous interior of California laurel and black walnut inlay. Its drop curtain was lavishly painted with scenes of the beauty of the San Francisco Bay by G.J. Denny. The theater remained a brilliant center of drama until 1888. Among artists who played here


California Theatre and Humboldt Bank, Market and 4th, 1918

The California Theatre was built in 1917 and became the State Theatre in 1927. A major U.S. Army and National Guard recruiting station was located in the storefront at this time. Market Street, between 4th and 10th, was lined with nearly 2 dozen theatres.


Fox Theatre, Market Street, c. 1939

The Fox, which opened in 1929, was one of the most magnificent motion picture theatres ever built. It featured the world's largest organ, the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ, and the enormous auditorium spanned 212-feet from screen to projectors. It closed in 1963, to be replaced by Fox Plaza.


Warfield Theatre on Market Street circa 1940


Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

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The Curran Theater

The evening of September 11, 1922 was one of the most memorable of Homer Curran's life. On that night the theatre bearing his name gave its premiere performance. Refusing to take the limelight no matter how much society coaxed, Homer Curran was content with enjoying the applause for his beautiful theatre. When Homer Curran died in 1952, the San Francisco Chronicle called the Curran a monument to his memory. In a sense it is. But, as he demonstrated on opening night, it is also something more. With all the emotion and applause, bows and roses, and even the boredom, missed lines, chewing gum and silent curses which fill a theatre over the years, the Curran - like any good theatre - almost has a life of its own.

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