Historical Sunday: The Haight/Straight Theater

As I was flipping through one of my favorite San Francisco history books, I discovered some fascinating information on an address of a building in the Haight district.  This versatile structure started life as the Haight Theater in 1910, and it had the following transformations:

  • Nickelodeon
  • General movie theater
  • Gay film theater
  • Assembly of God church
  • The Straight Theater – (Music Venue)

The final embodiment of this structure, the Straight Theater, ran into trouble with the neighborhood and zoning issues when it tried to open a music venue.  To get around it and still keep to their original purpose, the owners called it a “school of dance.”  Grateful Dead band members were listed as “dance instructors” when they agreed to perform at the opening of this newly remodeled site.

The most fascinating change that the building underwent was going from serving as a gay film theater to an Assembly of God church.   

The theater closed in 1969, and the building was demolished in 1979.  The replacement building houses the Goodwill Store.  There is a season to everything, and when we are talking about historical buildings in America, their time can be very short lived.   

Mike

Source:  The awesome “Historic Walks in San Francisco,” by Rand Richards

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