Fire. Earthquake. Financial ruin. The drama at The Empress Theatre certainly has not been confined to the stage.
Built in 1911 in the Beaux Arts style, the Empress’ appearance today has been shaped mainly by her rich history and changing fortunes. Today, only the exterior remains in the original style. The theatre’s interior layout dates from a much later 1930 Fox West Coast renovation (after a ruinous fire that took with it her upper balcony), while the magnificent Skouras ceiling and scroll-work arrived during a 1952 renovation. She stands tall today as an excellent example of early twentieth century theatre design, more than worthy of her landmark status.
Within this section, you’ll find a chronicle of the Empress Theatre’s fascinating history, replete with the story of her rise and fall — and rise again saga. Her history is also Vallejo’s history, and her restoration is a story of perseverance and the power of citizen activism combined with a generous dose of corporate good citizenship.
Today, the magnificently restored Empress — Vallejo’s Landmark #17– reigns over Virginia Street just as she has in the past — a royal reminder of Vallejo’s pride in its past and its hope for the future.