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Redondo Pavilion: the Ballroom & the Pavilion Theatre

S. El Paseo at Emerald St. Redondo Beach, CA 90277 | map |


Opened: 1907 as the Redondo Pavilion. It was also known as the Redondo Auditorium and the Pavilion Auditorium. The postcard is one that appears in the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.

The building contained shops, restaurants and a ground floor film theatre called the Pavilion Theater. The seating capacity is unknown. It's listed as being there in the 1912/13 city directory. The closing date of the theatre is unknown, as are details of its programming. The theatre entrance was via the arch at the middle of the facade.

On the second floor was a 4,000 capacity ballroom. The ballroom was later known as the Mandarin Ballroom and, beginning in April 1946, as a Western music venue called Texas Jim's Redondo Barn. In 1950 Jim left and it was just called the Redondo Barn.

Architect: Edward C. Kent


Thanks to Douglas Thompson for locating this item that appeared in the Redondo Reflex on February 17, 1907.

Just south of the Pavilion was the Casino, which also opened in 1907. In 1912 it was remodeled into a film house, the Capitol Theatre. And south of the Casino was the saltwater Plunge, also referred to as the Bathhouse, which opened in 1909. The pools there were heated by a Pacific Electric generating plant. The Plunge was demolished in 1941 and the site became a parking lot to handle the crowds at the Pavilion's ballroom. All of these amusement buildings were commissioned by Henry Huntington and designed as attractions to stimulate business for his Red Car line running along the coast.

Status: The Pavilion was demolished in December 1960. The El Paseo is now under water. The area was dredged to form a new harbor in 1961.


The entrance to the Pavilion Theater:  


Looking north toward the theatre entrance. It's a card that appears with Sam Gnerre's fine 2011 South Bay Daily Breeze article "The Redondo Barn."



The C.C. Pierce photo the card was based on. It's from the California Historical Society and appears on the USC Digital Library website.



A detail from the C.C. Pierce photo. The sandwich board advised that there would be a performance at 7:30 and admission would be 10 cents and 15 cents. 



Another view down the colonnade toward the Pavilion Theatre entrance. This card was on eBay with the seller noting that it had a 1909 postmark. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for spotting this one on the site.


The Ballroom: 


A fine view of the second floor ballroom. Thanks to Ron Felsing for posting this one on Flickr. He's still on the platform but the card seems to have vanished from there. Card Cow has a version on theitr site with a 1910 postmark. 


More exterior views: 
 

c.1907 - An early postcard view that appeared on eBay. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for spotting it on the site.



c.1907 - Wharf #1, the pier between the north end of the Pavilion and the State of California Building. It's a California Historical Society photo appearing on the USC Digital Library website. Note the "Casino" sign on the building at the right. Perhaps at the time of the photo the new Casino building south of the Pavilion wasn't yet open.



c.1908 - The Redondo Pavilion with the Casino beyond. At the far left there's no sign yet of the Bathhouse. It's a California Historical Society photo appearing on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1908 - A detail of the Casino from the California Historical Society photo. Note the "Redondo Pavilion" lettering above the entrance arch and check out all the stud lighting. That little sign at the right side of the entrance is for the building's movie theatre.



c.1909 - A view from the pier of a bit of the Pavilion plus the Casino and Bathhouse. The latter appears to be still under construction. Note the scaffolding. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



c.1910 - A postcard view of the back of the three buildings. It once popped up on eBay.



c.1910 - A look out to the pier north of the building. The card is from the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.



c.1910 - A look in from the pier. It's a card that was on a now-vanished Redondo Beach Landmarks site that was hosted on Earthlink. 



c.1910 - A view south down the tracks toward Newport Beach. The Pavilion is at the right with the Casino and Bathhouse farther left left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.



c.1910 - Thanks to Realtors Maureen and Bruce Megowan for this postcard, one appearing in the fine South Bay History section of their website. 



c.1910 - The photo the card above was based on. It's a photo from the files of the South Bay Daily Breeze that appears with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn."



c.1910 - A fine panoramic view of the Paseo. The Pavilion/Auditorium is in the center with the Casino to the left. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. He's got it in an album on Photobucket.



c.1910 - A postcard from the Redondo Beach section of the site Penny Postcards from California.



c.1910 - A moonlight postcard view with the dark hulk of the Casino in the middle between the nicely lit Bathhouse and Auditorium. The card was on eBay.



c.1914 - Looking north on Pacific Ave. The card was a find by Ken McIntyre. In her "History of Redondo Beach" Maureen Magowan discusses the roller coaster: "One of the popular tourist attractions was The Redondo Beach Lightning Racer roller coaster which had two parallel tracks. In cars traveling over 6,000 feet of track, riders had the sensation of racing those in the adjoining car. First opened to the public in 1913, the Lightning Racer was located on the beach just north of old Wharf One (and today’s Municipal Pier). Severely damaged by an extreme storm in March 1915, the coaster was demolished."



c.1920 - A view north from Penny Postcards from California. Note that they've added stairs outside the front entrance to get to the ballroom without having to go inside to the main entry hall.



c.1920 - A view looking north. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. 



c.1923 - Looking south along the Pavilion toward the Capitol Theatre and the Bathhouse beyond. It's a postcard by Mission Art Company that's in the California State Library collection.



c.1925 - Looking south on Pacific Ave. with the Paseo on the right. That's the Garland Hotel straight ahead. It's a California Historical Society photo on the USC Digital Library website.



c.1925 - A postcard view of the theatre and Pavilion beyond. It was a find on eBay.



1927 - A pageant in front of the Pavilion. The photo appears on the website of the City of Redondo Beach with the link on their photo page identified as "Beauty Show."



1938 - Looking down Pacific Ave. toward the Pavilion. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo. 



1957 - A look north along Pacific toward the Fox Redondo, straight ahead. Over on the left is the Redondo Pavilion. At this point the ballroom was called the Redondo Barn. Thanks to Ron Felsing for posting the photo on Flickr.



1961 - Looking south to the area where the Bathhouse, Capitol Theatre and Pavilion had once been. It was dredged for a new marina area as part of the King Harbor development. It's a South Bay Daily Breeze photo taken from on top of the Fox Redondo that appeared with Sam Gnerre's 2011 article "The Redondo Barn."

More information: Check out the Arcadia Publishing book "Redondo Beach Pier" by Jennifer Krintz. There's a preview on Google Books. There's a history page about the city on the website of the City of Redondo Beach.

See Sam Gnerre's 2011 Daily Breeze article "The Redondo Barn" about the Pavilion and its ballroom. Realtors Maureen and Bruce Megowan have some great material in the South Bay History section of their website. 

Other early Redondo beach theatres: The Airdome and the Elite Theatre were also in the amusement area along the beach. Both were listed as being at The Midway in the 1912/13 city directory. Their locations and history are unknown.

See the page about the Capitol Theatre. It was the major film house in town until the Fox Redondo opened on Diamond St. in 1929. The Fox was built on the site of the earlier Art Theatre. A later theatre was the Strand, a house that ended up as the Marina 1-2-3

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