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The Year-Round Source for Monterey Bay EventsSunday Jun 25, 2017Monterey Bay Weather

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    Golden State Theatre


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    In 1925, the sleepy town of Monterey experienced a building boom. Spurred in part by the ongoing success of the Hotel del Monte (now the Naval Postgraduate School), Monterey had become a visitor destination and needed the amenities to complement its new image. To that end, two groundbreakings that year would change the town’s skyline dramatically, but only one would survive to the next millennium, and that one is the Golden State Theatre.

    Where the Marriott Hotel stands today was the San Carlos Hotel, a Spanish-revival edifice which would remain the tallest building in Monterey until its razing in the early 1980s. But just one-and-a-half blocks away, San Francisco’s Reid Brothers architectural firm was creating a fantasy of its own, and a new anchor for the downtown.

    Reid Brothers’ vision was that of a new movie theatre and performance center that would rival those in California’s largest cities. Consequently, a 15,000 square-foot building themed as a Moorish castle would rise on Alvarado Street, much to the amazement of locals and visitors alike.

    When it opened on August 6, 1926, the Golden State Theatre was the last word in movie presentation, and it wasn’t a recorded word, as movies with sound were still over the horizon. Seating 1600 people, it was the largest theatre between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and could hold 25% of Monterey’s population. It featured modern miracles that were cutting-edge for 1926: hidden lighting that imitated a colorful sunset; an electric seat annunciator system that helped the uniformed ushers seat patrons quickly and efficiently; an emergency generator; an electric central vacuum; and an internal/external telephone system.