Monday, October 24, 2016

The El Teatro theater - now and then

Original El Teatro building in Downey

Another hidden historical treasure in downtown Downey is the building that originally housed the El Teatro theater. If you grew up in Downey, you most likely remember the Avenue Theater. And maybe you remember the Meralta. But it's unlikely that you remember the El Teatro, built around 1915.

Original El Teatro building in DowneyThe theater showed silent movies starring the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Norma Talmadge (of the Talmadge Sisters). Old-timers report that Mary Pickford once performed here, and that Roy Rogers performed a benefit show here.

Around the far left corner of the picture below (courtesy of The Downey Conservancy), there would have been another archway leading into the ticketing area. You can see, in the picture to the right, where this archway has been enclosed and plastered over—and is now cracking away.

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