Old Town Music Hall | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Don Holtz

Old Town Music Hall

In 1920, engineer Edward L. Mayberry, Jr. began the conversion of an existing structure on Richmond Street in downtown El Segundo into the State Theatre. When it opened in 1921, the 200-seat theatre was intended to serve as a live performance venue for employees of the nearby Standard Oil Refinery.  

The theatre was soon upgraded for motion picture viewing and continued as such until the mid-1930s when the doors were closed. In 1944 the theatre reopened as the El Segundo Theatre. Then, in 1957, the name State Theatre was restored and the venue remained active through the mid-1960s.

In 1967, two local musicians, Bill Field and Bill Coffman (“The Two Bills”) rented the theatre and installed the Mighty Wurlitzer theater pipe organ from the Fox West Coast Theatre in Long Beach. After months of restoration and rebuilding the massive pipe organ, Coffman and Field reduced the theatre’s seating to 188, reopening it in 1968 as the Old Town Music Hall.

Inside, the lobby is small and intimate, as is its auditorium – about the same seating arrangement as in today’s wide-body jetliners. But above hang two beautiful crystal chandeliers and velvet curtains drape the stage. Behind those curtains are the Mighty Wurlitzer’s multi-colored pipes, drums, bells, and whistles, which fill the theatre with music and magic.

Since 1990, the theater has operated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and specializes in concerts, films from Hollywood’s Golden Age, and silent films accompanied live on the pipe organ.

Still a viable and vibrant venue for entertainment in an historical setting, Old Town Music Hall is a living tribute to classic Hollywood cinema and music.

Rear of 1100 block of South San Pedro Street. Photo by Marcello Vavala/L.A. Conservancy

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