The landmark Park Theater, located in the heart of Lafayette, is a famous emblem of the city-and an architectural treasure. It was designed in 1941 by renowned cinema architect William B. David with a facade and is a classic example of the regional offshoot of Art Deco, Streamline Moderne. Shuttered since 2005, memories of the former cinematic glory and profound cultural effect of the Park remain with relatives, friends, and long-time residents who recall children's Saturday nights, special school holiday plans, first dates and first-run international movies, and kitschy classics. The reopening of the Park as a theater and entertainment center is one of the top 4 civic priorities, and it is still a focus for local retailers and the Government as we work together to revitalize downtown.
In 1941, in a rural, vibrant community hungry for entertainment, Lafayette, California, like so many other cities, was still recovering from the Great Depression, the park theater cinema opened with much hype and plenty of hullaballoo. They also expressed the growing anxiety of the world about the language of war abroad.
The Park was scheduled to open on July 15 but it finally opened on August 21, 1941. Its style was simple: traditional curves, seats and carpets described as "plush," and a blues, ivory, and maroon color palette. The female patrons were flattered by peach-toned walls of the ladies' room paired with ambient illumination. The general contractor was from San Anselmo, the Martinez sheet metalist, the electrician was from Crockett, but the plumber was local-Jack Smith, Lafayette Plumbing and Supplies maker. Three usherettes were recruited, one having recently graduated for her first job from Acalanes High School. The video to open the night? 'Keep The Ghost,' by Abbott and Costello.
The original Park Theater Action Committee, now The Park Theater Trust (TPTT), investigated prior, very cautious efforts at re-opening the Park, and took a close look into what succeeded with other neighborhoods and their small cinemas.
It was determined that success and profitability would be accomplished for Lafayette by a relationship with a non-profit ownership of the building and then leasing and collaborating closely with a mission-driven, for-profit operator who would deliver films and cooperate with affiliate neighborhood organizations to create a daily schedule of new, diversified programming that draws multigenerational interest.
The Park Theatre's plan is to reconfigure the interior and incorporate two screens in a configuration that is versatile enough to support and display new programming styles.
This amazing landmark in Lafayette, California is located near some other must-see places:
- Cross of Lafayette Memorial
- The Lafayette Library and Learning Center
- Oakmont Memorial Park
- Lafayette Reservoir
- Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa
- Lafayette Veterans Memorial Center
- Lafayette City Office
- Lafayette Community Center
All of these wonderful locations are located just a short distance from our location at 1261 Locust Street in Walnut Creek California! Stop by for a visit anytime!