Significant for its cultural associations and Art Deco design, the Fairfax Theatre was central to the development of Beverly-Fairfax's Jewish population from 1930-1969.
Despite the building’s status as a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM), a proposed project on the site threatens the historic building where only the facade is required to be retained.
The Fairfax Theatre is a single-screen theatre and commercial building designed in the Art Deco Society. The theatre played a key role in the development of the Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood and was an anchor of culture, community, and celebration for Jewish Angelenos. Built in 1929, it was one of the neighborhood’s first commercial buildings, and its very first theatre.
About This Place
About This Place
The Fairfax Theatre is significant as a neighborhood movie theatre designed in the Art Deco style, and for its connection to Jewish heritage in Los Angeles, community planning and development, and the performing arts. The Fairfax Theatre has served as a central fixture in the Beverly-Fairfax community both as a venue for entertainment and as a center for fundraising for local Jewish synagogues, temples, clubs, and charities. Fundraisers at the theater were critical for the migration of important cultural institutions as the Jewish population moved west from Boyle Heights.
As a multi-use theatre, the building’s retail storefronts served as a neighborhood commercial center, initially with specialty stores and restaurants catering the surrounding Jewish community.
Beginning in the 1920s, the Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood grew as a new Jewish enclave, as the Jewish population expanded and moved west from Boyle Heights. From 1930-1969, the Fairfax Theatre played a key role in the Beverly-Fairfax’s Jewish community.
Over a fifty-year period from 1930-1987, the theater hosted over forty special events. For the first three decades, all but one of those events had direct connections to Jewish organizations, reflecting and nourishing the growing Jewish community in the neighborhood. Notable early fundraisers for synagogues included Etz Jacob (Orthodox) and Fairfax Temple (Reform) in 1933, followed by Western Jewish Institute (later Congregation Shaarei Tefila, Conservative), in 1934.
When it was completed, the Fairfax Theatre was one of the first major commercial buildings in the neighborhood and the most prominent. Before the Fairfax Theatre, the Beverly-Fairfax neighborhood had little in the way of commercial and professional buildings and no movie theaters. Just the announcement of the theater’s construction seemed to be a catalyst for local developers to start building along the commercial corridor.
The Conservancy believes the Fairfax Theatre is a significant historic building that holds significant social history for Jewish Angelinos. The proposed development, which would demolish the theatre and only preserve part of the facade, is not adequate preservation.
We support new development that meets the Secretary of the Interiors Standards and preserves the entire historic building and adds sensitively adds density.
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