Fox Riverside

Image source The Fox Foundation

It’s the 1929 Spanish Colonial Revival theater in the heart of downtown Riverside, California. Like many great buildings of it era, it had its heyday and decline. But what stands out here, the site was saved and brought back to its former glory as an up to date regional performing arts center.

It was the first theatre to screen Gone With The Wind, one of the gold-standards of all time successful films. Hollywood liked to have test screenings here because it wasn’t “big city.” and Riverside better reflected how middle America would react.

The Riverside Fox Theater was designed by Los Angeles-based architects Clifford Balch and engineer Floyd E. Stanberry, who were responsible for designing many of the Fox West Coast Theaters. Some 58 theaters in total by Balch.

The Fox Riverside is a perfect example of the undeniable attractiveness of original historic fabric. The unmatched beauty achieved by original design integrity. A far superior option than demolition and replacing with bland generic cookie cutter junk.

Stenciled beams and light fixture of the Fox Riverside.

The San Diego regional portfolio of Clifford Balch includes the Adams Theatre in Normal Heights, Aztec Theatre (now basically a stripped hull used for Urban Outfitters 665 5th Avenue), and the Sunshine Brooks Theatre 217 North Coast Highway, Oceanside. And once upon a time the Balch and Strawberry Palomar Theatre 314 N. Coast Highway. Now long gone.

Last but not least the historic neon blade sign. A beauty and landmark in its own right.

Dan Soderberg
I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

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