Yost Theater

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Yost Theater-Ritz Hotel
Yost Theater2.jpg
The Yost Theater pictured in 2007
Location 301–307 N. Spurgeon St.
Santa Ana, California
Architect Frederick Eley
NRHP Reference # 86000107
Added to NRHP January 23, 1986

The Yost Theater and Ritz Hotel is a National Register of Historic Places-listed building located in Santa Ana's Downtown Historic District. Under the ownership of the Olivos Family it became a movie house for the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. In recent years it housed various church organizations and underwent renovation in 2007. It now functions as a nightclub and concert venue.


The Yost first opened as The Auditorium in 1913. It then was renamed the Clunes the same year. It was not until Ed Yost purchased the theater that it acquired the name, Yost Theater. In 1950 the theater was leased to Luis Olivos, father of Louie Olivos Jr.

The theater housed vaudeville, silent films, and talkies before it became a Mexican cinema house under the Olivos Family. Louie Olivos Jr. brought talent of Mexican cinema to the Yost including Antonio Aguilar, and Vicente Fernández to name some. He also brought Ike and Tina Turner and Sonny and Cher to the Yost.

The Chase Family, developers of the Fiesta Marketplace shopping district, purchased the Yost from the City of Santa Ana in 1986. After this purchase the theater became a church, and as a result of this, the structure suffered defacing and alteration of its interior. In 2007, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Yost Theater would be reopened for the benefit of the community at large. Restoration and conversion to a live theatre was carried out by architect Thomas Berkes, and it reopened as a concert and live performance venue that same year. Following the reopening, the Centro Cultural de México (Mexican Cultural Center in Santa Ana) began programming concerts and related events, including an appearance of Dolores Huerta, Director of United Farm Workers, and a lecture on Frida Kahlo by Mexican art connoisseur Gregorio Luke.

On August 23, 2010, the City of Santa Ana Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve Conditional Use Permits No. 2010-04, No. 2010-05, and No. 2010-06 that allowed the Yost Theater and Ritz Hotel to be operated after-hours, with a Type 47 ABC license, and as a banquet facility.

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