Fox Theater: A Historic Landmark in Bakersfield CA

Bakersfield, California is a city with a rich history and cultural heritage. One of the most iconic landmarks in this city is the Fox Theater. Built during the 1930s, this theater has stood the test of time and continues to be a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. In this article, we will explore the history, significance, and cultural impact of the Fox Theater in Bakersfield, CA.

History of the Fox Theater

The Fox Theater was built in 1930 by the Fox West Coast Theater Company. It was designed by the renowned architect S. Charles Lee, who was known for his Art Deco style of architecture. The theater was built at a cost of $800,000 and could accommodate up to 1,500 people. The Fox Theater was considered to be one of the most advanced theaters of its time, with state-of-the-art sound and projection equipment.

For decades, the Fox Theater was the go-to destination for entertainment in Bakersfield. It played host to some of the biggest names in show business, including Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, and Elvis Presley. In the 1960s, however, the popularity of movie theaters began to decline, and the Fox Theater fell into disrepair. After years of neglect, the theater was in danger of being demolished in the 1980s.

The Restoration of the Fox Theater

In 1994, the Fox Theater was purchased by the Fox Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving this historic landmark. The foundation embarked on a massive restoration project that took over a decade to complete. The theater was brought back to its former glory, with meticulous attention paid to every detail, from the hand-painted murals on the walls to the art deco lighting fixtures.

Today, the Fox Theater is once again a cultural gem in Bakersfield, CA. It has been recognized as a California Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater is now a vibrant venue for live entertainment, from concerts and comedy shows to plays and dance performances.

The Significance of the Fox Theater

The Fox Theater is more than just a historic building - it is a symbol of the cultural heritage of Bakersfield, CA. It serves as a reminder of a bygone era when movie theaters were the cornerstone of entertainment. The restoration of the theater was not just about preserving a building, but about preserving a piece of Bakersfield's history and identity.

According to Nick Hill, the Executive Director of the Fox Theater Foundation, \"the Fox Theater is a significant part of Bakersfield's cultural landscape. It is a venue that has been part of the community for over 90 years, and it continues to be a place where people can come together to enjoy the arts.\"

The Impact of the Fox Theater on the Community

The Fox Theater has had a profound impact on the community of Bakersfield. It has not only provided a venue for entertainment but has also contributed to the local economy. According to a report by Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts industry in Bakersfield generates $48.9 million in economic activity each year, supporting 1,719 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $5.1 million in local and state government revenue.

Furthermore, the Fox Theater has played a role in revitalizing downtown Bakersfield. The restoration of the theater has helped to spur other development projects in the area, including new restaurants, shops, and residential buildings.


The Fox Theater in Bakersfield, CA is more than just a building - it is a cultural landmark that represents the city's history and identity. Its restoration was not only about preserving a historic structure but about revitalizing a community. The Fox Theater continues to be a vibrant destination for live entertainment and a source of pride for the people of Bakersfield.

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