Steere's Opera House

N.E. cor. 3rd St. and Broadway      | map |  

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Opened: 1887It was also known as the Santa Monica Opera House. At the time, Broadway was called Utah St.

Architect:  Unknown. This hall was on the second floor of a two story brick building.

Seating: 500

Status:  Demolished. The closing date for the hall is unknown. In 1906 it was being used as a classroom for a summer school session.  In 1909 the Southern California Tennis Association had a lavish ball at the theatre.

Also:  See our page on the Mayfair Theatre, which opened as the Santa Monica Opera House in 1911 before being renamed the Majestic.

Also see "Early Santa Monica" by Louise B. Gabriel. And take a preview of Jake Klein's "Santa Monica Then and Now."

A note on Santa Monica Street names:
Nevada became Wilshire Blvd.
Oregon became Santa Monica Blvd.
Utah became Broadway

     Official Theatrical Guide    

Julius Cahn's Official Theatrical Guide
Volume 5
- 1900 - 1901

Google Books preview

On page 249 we see this listing:

"SANTA MONICA -- Pop., 3,000. Steere Opera House.
I.O.O.F Lodge, mgr., bus. mgr. and press agt.
S. c., 500. Prices 25c to 50c. Illum., elec. J.J. Davis, elec.

Width prosc. opening, 16 ft. Height, 14 ft.
Depth footlights to back wall, 16 ft.
Dist. curtain line to footlights, 3 ft.
Dist. bet. side walls, 30 ft.  Dist bet flygirders, 20 ft.
Height grooves from stage, 12 ft.   4 grooves.
 Theatre second floor. W.L. Barker leader of orches. 6 in orches.
W.C. Willis, prop man.
Printing required, 4 stands, 10 3 sheets, 50 1 sheets, 100 1/2 sheets.
Dates read, Steere Opera House.
E.E. Barackman, bill poster and adv. agent."

     Ingersoll's Century History    

Century History, Santa Monica Bay Cities

by Luther A. Ingersoll

1908, 512 pages

Google Books preview

On page 173  as part of the discussion
of the events of 1887 we get this:

"Among the buildings of the year, John Steere erected
a two story brick block on the northeast corner of Utah
and 3rd, with a frontage of 50 by 75 feet.

The second floor contained a large hall which for many
years was known as "Steere's Opera House," and
which served as theater and public meeting place.

The older residents of Santa Monica can look back on
 many festal [sic] occasions enjoyed within and recall the
remarkable display of stuffed birds which adorned its walls.

Several other business blocks and a number of residences
 were built during the year. St. Augustine's Episcopal church
was erected and the Catholic church at Palms was built."

Don't you wonder about the stuffed birds?

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    USC Archives

A view c.1891 that USC identifies as looking up 3rd St.
 from Utah St. (Broadway) to Nevada St. (Wilshire Blvd.)
full size view

The caption says, in part: "The Opera House and the
 Catholic Church are on the right side of the street, while
 the First Presbyterian Church is on the corner of Nevada.
 The First Presbyterian Church can also be seen at the
 corner of Nevada Boulevard."

We're assuming that the Opera House is one of the
 taller buildings on the right up in the next block.
Which means that the photo wasn't shot at Utah St.
 but at least a half block farther south.

 Note that the Presbyterian Church was actually
 at 3rd and Arizona.