In 1926, the Reid Brothers' design for the Grand Lake Theater was completed for West Coast Theaters, Inc. March 6, 1926 marked the grand opening of this Vaudeville Show and Silent Movie House.
West Coast Theaters, Inc. became part of the Fox Theater Chain in 1928. Vaudeville Shows were discontinued after talking pictures (known as 'talkies') became popular. Horace Heidt's orchestra was a stage attraction at the Grand Lake in the late 1920s when the band toured on the Fox West Coast circuit.
The sign mounted on top of the Grand Lake Theatre is the largest rotary contact sign west of the Mississippi River. It measures 52 feet (15.85m) high by 72 feet (21.95m) wide and consists of 2,800 colored bulbs and was designed by Theodore Wetteland. The firing sequence is controlled by a device much like a music box. The sign is typically lit Friday and Saturday, from dusk until the start of the last show of the night.
The interiors of the lobby and main auditorium are decorated in a period-revival style with baroque elements, faux Neoclassical columns and urns.
Since purchasing the theater in 1980, Allen Michaan, owner of Renaissance Rialto, Inc., has devoted considerable resources to restoring the Grand Lake Theater, having spent $3.5 million to completely renovate the interior.
On July 14, 1981, the Grand Lake Theater and Roof Sign were designated an Oakland Landmark #52, #LM 81-101.
The Grand Lake Theater was the recipient of the East Bay Express Best Place to See a Movie Readers' Poll Award in 2014 and 2015.
3200 Grand Avenue, Oakland, California
Links and References
Grand Lake Theater: The Historic Grand Lake Theater official website
20 years of politics on the Grand Lake Theatre marquee, photographed Oaklandside October 7, 2020
- Grand Lake Theater Wikipedia