Golden State Theatre

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Golden State Theatre
State Theatre
Address417 Alvarado Street
LocationMonterey, California, USA
Coordinates36°35′58″N 121°53′38.1″W / 36.59944°N 121.893917°W / 36.59944; -121.893917Coordinates: 36°35′58″N 121°53′38.1″W / 36.59944°N 121.893917°W / 36.59944; -121.893917
TypeIndoor theater
Seating typeOrchestra, Balcony
Capacity1,300 (1,600 original)
OpenedAugust 6, 1926 (1926-08-06)
Renovated2005 (partial)

The Golden State Theatre (also known as the State Theatre) in Monterey, California, opened on August 6, 1926.[1][2]


Designed by the noted San Francisco architectural firm of Reid & Reid, the Golden State Theatre is a "budget" atmospheric movie palace. The interior features walls inspired by a Castillian castle and the ceiling has a fresco of a "canopy" with slight borders of "sky" showing around the perimeter. This gives the feeling of sitting in an open-air courtyard.[3] The theater was originally equipped with lighting to simulate sunrises and sunsets.[1]

Also notable, the theater originally had 1,600 seats at a time when the population of Monterey was just around 6,000. For a long time the Golden State Theatre was the largest theater between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In addition to the theater, the building has a number of leasable commercial spaces. Four storefronts face Alvarado Street and one larger space faces Tyler Street at the rear of the building. Historically there was also a small medical office in the second floor of the building, above and to the left of the marquee.

Transition, Decline and Multiplexing[edit]

In the late 1960s United Artists Theatres acquired the building. As with many movie palaces during the 1960s and 1970s, the theater fell on difficult financial times. In 1976 the main auditorium was split into a three screen multiplex.[3]

Restoration Efforts[edit]

In 1990, State Theatre Preservation Group was formed as a public-benefit (non-profit) corporation to acquire and restore the building.

A replacement Wurlitzer pipe organ was installed beginning in 1992.[1] The organ is the "twin" of the organ originally installed in the Golden State when the theater opened in 1926.

The theater was acquired by a private investor in 2005. An incomplete restoration was undertaken by the new owner beginning the same year. The partial restoration included returning the theater back to a single auditorium with one screen. New seating was installed (and reduced to 1,300) and a general cleanup of never completed spaces in the second and third floors of the building was also undertaken.

Shortly after the partial restoration, the building was leased to a church for a few years. It has only recently reverted to theatrical booking.

Current Status[edit]

The theater is still in operation in 2013, although limited to special events. It now exhibits movies fairly infrequently.

In the autumn of 2013, the City of Monterey began investigating a public-private partnership with the current owner or an outright purchase by the City.[4][5]

Prospective New Ownership[edit]

In March 2014, private investors Eric Lochtefeld and Lori Lochtefeld made an offer to purchase the theater with the intent to operate it as a performing arts venue. The Lochtefelds, who were the owners of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City, CA until 2019, took over the Golden State Theatre's lease April 1, 2014. Escrow closed on August 30, 2014.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Cinema Treasures. "Golden State Theatre". Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  2. ^ League of Historic American Theatres. "California Historic Theaters". Archived from the original on 3 February 2012. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  3. ^ a b State Theatre Preservation Group, Inc. "History of the State Theatre". Archived from the original on December 11, 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  4. ^ Rubin, Sara (27 September 2013). "Monterey Weighs Public Input on Buying Golden State Theatre". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  5. ^ Monterey City Council. "Agenda, Regular Meeting of 15 October 2013". Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2013.
  6. ^ Parsons, Larry (11 March 2014). "New Golden State Theatre owners didn't take long to decide". Monterey County Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  7. ^ Rubin, Sara (10 March 2014). "Golden State Theatre sold to owners of Redwood City's Fox Theatre". Monterey County Weekly. Retrieved 30 March 2014.

External links[edit]