Ebell Theatre Long Beach

1100 E. 3rd St. at Cerritos Ave.    | map

Long Beach, CA   90802

Website: www.ebelllongbeach.com

Opened: 1924 as a social club for women in Long Beach. In addition to the theatre designed for both films and stage presentations, the building included meeting rooms, a kitchen and a library. It's a 50,000 s.f. building.

In 1925 the theatre was listed in the Long Beach city directory as Hoyt's Ebell.  Hoyt also operated the Strand Theatre in Long Beach, then called Hoyt's. 

In the 1926 and 1935 directories it's just listed as the Ebell Theatre.The theatre has also been called the Metro Ebell.

Architect:  Clark Philip

Seating: 1,000

A Long Beach real estate website noted that:

"The Ebell Club and Theatre was built in 1924 by Clark Philip / CT McGrew. No expense was spared during its construction. It is an example of Churrigueresque architecture. Its lavish, sculpted facade style date back to Spanish architect Jose Churriguera (1650-1723) who developed the style that is characterized by play of light and shade through lush cement ornamentation."

After extensive earthquake damage, the building was reopened following a dedication on December 4, 1933.

A c.1937poster for the WPA production "Help Yourself" at
the Ebell. It's in the collection of George Mason University.
 larger view | data page

In 1947, under the management of Dave Rector, one attraction for the art house audience was "The Great Mr. Handel." The theatre operated commercially as a movie theatre into the 50s with several other operators. The venue was still used for musical events and occasional film screenings into the 90s.

Status: While much of the building was restored in 2004, the theatre space was converted into 11 loft apartments ranging in size from 1,200 to over 2,200 s.f.  One tri-level loft includes the proscenium arch.  Another is the former projection booth. 

The general contractor and construction manager for the conversion of the building was  JR van Dijs, Inc.  The firm was also responsible for the refurbishment of the Art Theatre.

The areas of the building fronting on Cerritos Ave. are available for rental for special events -- a total of 25,000 s.f. of available space. Part of the open courtyard of the building has been enclosed with a ceiling with skylights and transformed into a space for weddings and other events.

A look at "The Grand Hall" from
a former Ebell Club website.
full size view

About the Ebell Club:  The Long Beach Ebell Club, an all women's organization, was established in 1896 with the goal of furthering cultural activities in Long Beach. Within a few years after the founding, most women of education and affluence belonged to the club.

The initial clubhouse (in use until 1919) was at the corner of Ocean and Daisy Avenues. It's listed in the 1914-1915 city directory at 552 W. Ocean. In the 1914 and 1915 Los Angeles phone books the club is listed as at W. Ocean & Daisy Ave.

A look at the earlier building in a 1905
C.C. Pierce photo in the USC Archives
 from the California Historical Society. 
full size view

About Mr. Ebell: Wikipedia has an article:

"ADRIAN JOHN EBELL, son of Henry T. and Mary (Palm) Ebell, was born Sept. 20, 1840, of English and Dutch ancestry in Jaffnapatam, on the Island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). When about ten years of age, he was sent to this country with an older sister to be educated. After preparatory school he entered Yale in 1858. He then taught music in New Haven and in Chicago, and then moved to St. Paul and took some noted photographs. He served for a short time in the Indian war in Minnesota, with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He wrote an article June 1863 in Harper's Bazaar titled “The Indian Massacres and War of 1862” . http://harpers.org/archive/1863/06/0039583 He then returned to Yale and graduated at the Scientific School in 1866 with a PhD.

He afterwards studied medicine at the Albany Medical College, graduating M.D. in 1869. In the meantime he had begun to lecture before schools and lyceums on natural science. In 1871 he established himself in New York City as director of The International Academy of Natural Science, which comprised a plan of travel and study in Europe for annually organized classes of young ladies. He was married, in September, 1874, to Oriana L., daughter of Dr. A.J. Steele, of New York. He embarked from New York, on one of these study tours, late in March, 1877 and died en route at age 37.

He made a visit to California in 1876, and while here he organized a class in Oakland. After his death the name “Ebell” was taken by the Oakland chapter or “Club” Other chapters founded later used the same Ebell name."

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Ebell Theatre 15 exterior photos.  The Cinema Tour page on the Ebell Theatre has a recent undated exterior view by Ron Andrews.

The building gets a mention in "An Architectural Guidebook To Los Angeles" on Google Books.

Also see our page for the 1929 Wilshire Ebell Theatre in and the earlier Ebell Club on Figueroa St.

    Long Beach Heritage Museum   


A 1927 view of the Ebell in the collection
of the Long Beach Heritage Museum. 
slightly larger view

A larger view of the photo above
appears on Cinema Treasures.

A look at the Ebell Building. The theatre
is at the left, facing on 3rd St. 

photo: Google Maps - 2011

The Ebell Theatre. Note the windows and decks for
the new lofts on the left wall of the former auditorium.

 photo: Google Maps - 2011

Click on either of these two views to enlarge,
or head to Google for an interactive view.

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    Cal State Dominguez Hills   

A Winstead photo postcard of the damage
to the Ebell after the 1933 earthquake.

    Jeff Gritchen - SoCal Seen   


A great view of the Ebell Theatre after the March 10, 1933
earthquake in the "before" version of this panorama posted
by Jeff Gritchen when he was with the long Beach
Press-Telegram. The vintage photo is from the
 Security First National Bank collection.
full size view

    Long Beach Public Library   


Another version of the 1927 view in the
Library's Long Beach Heritage collection.
full size view | photo data

It's a Winstead photo. Note we have no Hoyt's signage yet.
The Library's caption notes that the Ebell is running "Aloma of
the South Seas" with Gilda Gray ( a 1926 release), who
became famous for introducing "The Shimmy."

Also in the collection:
rigging backstage - 1968  |  building entrance - 1930  |

    L.A. Public Library Collection   


An undated view of the Ebell building from the Library's
collection. Note the "Hoyt's" signage atop the entrance.
full size view