The Alcazar


It was built in 1917 as a Shriners meeting hall known as the Islam Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of Mystic Shrine. Today it is called Alcazar Theatre, San Francisco Historic Landmark #195.

Islam Temple Screenshot

Source: Internet Archive

The historic designation research paper shows that it was designed by Thomas Paterson Ross, and that it is one of the most unusual buildings of downtown San Francisco. Most of the original interior is gone. However today remaining historic interior elements blend with modern spaces featuring not only the 511 seat auditorium, but well designed art galleries and meeting areas.

islam-mosque as Smart Object-1

The facade of this concrete and steel structure with its Byzantine arches and filigree is primarily of ornate polychrome terra cotta with a granite water table.

Court-of-the-Lion-Alhambra as Smart Object-1

Image source Carol Byrne/
This was the inspiration, the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.
AAA-8529 as Smart Object-1

The old Alcazar Theatre that was located at 260 O’Farrell Street. After it was torn down in 1963, the Alcazar then reopened at the Shriner meeting hall site, 650 Geary Street.

sftemple as Smart Object-1

In addition to originally serving as a Shriner meeting hall, the building featured exotic smoking rooms and parlors which had become popular by 1917.

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

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