c.1910 6

The entrance to the Orpheum Theatre was at 568 - 12th Street between Clay and Jefferson, although the building itself backed up to 13th Street. It opened in 1907, with Mayor Frank Mott and Judge Henry A. Melvin among the speakers for the opening night festivities. The mayors of Berkeley and Alameda were also in attendance. 1 The theater was designed by Walter J. Mathews and had an entrance through the Hotel Adams building. It featured Vaudeville acts and had daily matinees.

The 1924 city directory lists Allan G. Warshauer, manager; Frank Ahern, electrician; Thelma M.Bell; Oliver Binner, assistant manager; Frank C. Casey, stage manager; Frank Creits, musician; Edith Dugan, cashier; Jake Huston, superintendent; Clarence Klinker, propman; Oscar Preston, musical director; Robert Tanson, moving picture operator; Lucille Trague, assistant treasurer.

According to Theatres of Oakland, it was a popular destination, but it was never a financial success. When the first Fox Theatre in Oakland was re-named the Orpheum in 1925, this theater was renamed the 12th Street Theatre, and later the 12 Street Follies. 2 The theater closed in the 1930s and was mostly vacant (the 1951 Sanborn maps labels it as a furniture storage warehouse) until 1958 when it and the Hotel Adams were both destroyed by a large fire while the buildings were in the process of being demolished to make way for a parking lot. 4

from Museum of Performance and Design, Performing Arts Library via CalisphereSouth side of 13th Street between Jefferson and Clay, March 1958 5Oakland Tribune, May 26, 1958 4Early 1900s postcard via HipPostcard

1912 Sanborn excerpt

Links and References

1918 ad 3

  1. New Oakland Orpheum to Be Opened Tonight San Francisco Call September 30, 1907
  2. Images of America: Theatres of Oakland by Jack Timmany and Jennifer Dowling, Arcadia Press
  3. ad for Gertrude Hoffman performing Oakland Tribune March 17, 1918
  4. Itinerants May Have Set Fire in Old Orpheum Theater Oakland Tribune, May 26, 1958
  5. ohrphoto.dpoa4.088 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  6. ohrphoto.oaktheaters.034 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library