Exciting news: I added a new page! See the Explore page by clicking “Explore” in the top bar on any page (or click here). I’ve inventoried my posts there by state–you can use this to check out some of the previous places I’ve been and written about!
The Varsity Theater in downtown Davis, California, is a Streamline Moderne beauty. The Streamline Moderne style was forward-thinking and futuristic, a relation of Art Deco and dominated by sleek lines and streamlined decorative elements. Throughout history, theaters have often been interested in cutting edge technology and eye-catching architecture. The iconic marquee of the Chicago Theater, for example, remains one of Chicago’s most iconic signs. The newest in architecture no doubt spoke to their cutting edge movie technology.
The current Varsity Theater was built in 1949 (see some early photographs of the theater here! The lobby was amazing haha). In the grand opening ads, the Varsity was advertised as a “new, ultra modern” theater “cooled by refrigeration.” In the often warm Sacramento valley, these advertisements still entice.
The Varsity was narrowly spared demolition in 1992 when it was converted into a theater with added stage. Luckily, in 2006 the Varsity reopened as a movie theater and it continues to serve downtown Davis, today.
Sources and Further Reading:
The Davis Varsity Theater website has their own history page.
Interested in America’s historic movie theaters? See this Slate article, America’s Vanishing Historic Movie Theaters.