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Crown Theatre

11342 Santa Monica Blvd. Sawtelle (Los Angeles), CA 90025
| map |

The address represents the change after the neighborhood adopted the L.A. numbering system. Earlier the building was listed as 504 and then 342 Santa Monica Blvd.



A postcard view of what appears to be the Crown Theatre. We're looking east. Note the posters on display. The card is on the site Art.com.

Dates: The Crown Theatre, also known as the Sawtelle Theatre, operated from about 1915 until 1924. The location of the building was on the south side of the street about halfway between the present Nuart Theatre, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., and the Royal Theatre, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd.

Thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for sorting out much of the theatre's history. See the "1922 - The Sawtelle Crown Silent Picture Theater" page on his blog Sawtelle 1897 - 1929.

It's listed in the 1919-20 city directory as being at 504 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle. W.R. Swickard is listed as the proprietor. The 504 number suggests that the building was east of 6th St. (now renamed Perdue).

The theatre was in a building known variously as Masonic Hall, the Barker Building or Barker Block. In addition to the Masons, other tenants included the Odd Fellows, Knights of Pythias, Independent Order of Foresters and other similar organizations.

Later operators were A.J. Fyhn and a Mr. Armour of the Fyhn and Armour Theater Company. At the time they also had the Majestic in Santa Monica, a theatre later renamed the Mayfair.  The team were the ones who opened the Tivoli in 1924, the theatre now called the Royal.

In the 1923/24 Santa Monica directory the theatre is listed as at 342 Santa Monica Blvd., Sawtelle. The other tenants were at 342 1/2 indicating (perhaps) that the theatre was the main floor tenant with the others upstairs. The nearest street going west in 1923 was Mobile, now called Perdue.

Until 1922, the Sawtelle district was a separate town east of Santa Monica. The town, named in 1899 after landowner William E. Sawtelle, had its own street numbering system prior to being absorbed into Los Angeles. The town had originally been called Barrett Villa but the post office requested a new name as is was too similar to the town of Bassett. See Samuel de la Torre Dórame's page about the July 1899 renaming.

Over the years there were changes in both street numbers as well as giving names to what had formerly been many numbered streets. The two addresses for the Crown (504 and 342) are the same location. Even prior to adopting L.A. numbering along Santa Monica Blvd., there were some number changes.

Mr. de la Torre Dórame notes that the theatre site was between the streets now called Corinth and Perdue, with what would now be an address of 11342 Santa Monica Blvd., the "11" added when the numbering was changed to match the L.A. system. Just to the east of the theatre location is the current Felica Mahood Multipurpose Center with an address of 11338.



A February 6, 1923 ad for the theatre from the Santa Monica Evening Outlook. Thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for locating it.



An April 6, 1923 Santa Monica Evening Outlook article and ad for Mary Pickford in "Tess of the Storm Country." Thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for finding the item via the Santa Monica Public Library. He calls our attention to the fact that the Sawtelle and Crown names were used interchangeably. Here the article calls it the Crown and Sawtelle Theater is used in the ad.



An April 1923 ad for "School Days." Again thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for the find. 



An April 24, 1924 ad and article from the Santa Monica Evening Outlook located by Samuel de la Torre Dórame via the Santa Monica Public Library.

Closing: It's assumed that the  theatre closed in 1924 with the opening of its replacement, the Tivoli. The operators felt the neighborhood "had entirely outgrown the old Crown theater..."



The March 7, 1924 article from the Santa Monica Evening Outlook about the Tivoli's opening. Thanks to Samuel de la Torre Dórame for finding the article via the Santa Monica Public Library.

Status: Demolished. The whole block has been redeveloped.

More on Sawtelle Streets: It appears that the streets in Sawtelle that originally had numbered designations may have been renamed several times. The 1923 Los Angeles city directory has some interesting names to peruse concerning streets crossing Santa Monica Blvd. in Sawtelle.




In 1929 this was the street lineup:
 

Earlier names for Santa Monica Blvd. were Electric Road, Barrett Ave. and Oregon Ave. Here some data on the renaming of the north/south streets that was done in 1919:

Going west--

1901: National Military Blvd. >> in 1923: Military 100  >> in 1929: Sepulveda 11160

earlier: 1st St.  >> in 1923: Shiloh 150  >> in 1929: Pontius 11150

earlier: 2nd St. >> in 1923: Antietam 200  >> in 1929: Cotner 11200

earlier: 3rd St.  >> in 1923: Petersburg 300  >> in 1929: Beloit 11250

earlier: 4th St. >> in 1923: Sawtelle 400   >> in 1929: Sawtelle 11300

earlier: 5th St. >> in 1923: Corinth 500  >> in 1929: Corinth 11334

[ Crown Theatre between 5th and 6th ]

earlier: 6th St. >> in 1923: Mobile 600  >> in 1929: Perdue 11400

earlier: 7th St.  >> in 1923: Chickamauga  >> in 1929: Butler 11500

earlier: 8th St.  >> in 1923: Gettysburg  >> in 1929: Colby 11550

earlier: 9th St.  >> in 1923: Federal 800  >> in 1929: Federal 11600

The renaming of north/south streets with Civil War related names and east/west streets with names of various states had been done in 1919. The present numbering along Santa Monica Blvd. was instituted in 1926 or earlier -- it appears in that year's directory.



A map of Sawtelle from Samuel de la Torre Dórame's page February 21st 1901 First Map of Sawtelle. He notes that the current street names are in red. Also see his 1910 map. Thanks, Samuel!

More Information: Another early theatre nearby in Sawtelle was the National Theatre on 4th St.

See the "1922 - The Sawtelle Crown Silent Picture Theater" page on Samuel de la Torre Dórame's  blog Sawtelle 1897 - 1929

Cinema Treasures has pages started for 502 Santa Monica Blvd. and 342 Santa Monica Blvd. but they list these as Santa Monica addresses rather than as Sawtelle. 

The Arcadia Publications book on Sawtelle can be previewed on Google Books. There's an article on Sawtelle history in Wikipedia.

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2 comments:

  1. see my blog at https://sawtelle1897to1929.wordpress.com/about/1922-the-sawtelle-crown-silent-picture-theater/

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    Replies
    1. Lovely work, Samuel. And many thanks for getting in touch. I've taken the liberty of incorporating your illustrations and other data into my revised page. I'm looking forward to seeing what you find on the Tivoli!

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