Building 51 | Building 51 | late 1920’s illuminated alhambra theater auditorium or lobby exit sign with raised clear glass individual letters – nacht and lewis, architects, sacramento, ca.
9676
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late 1920’s illuminated alhambra theater auditorium or lobby exit sign with raised clear glass individual letters – nacht and lewis, architects, sacramento, ca.

51-21277-14

Category

Non-Chicago Artifacts

About This Item

all original and historically important single flush mount illuminated alhambra theater interior exit light salvaged shortly before demolition in 1973. the remarkable and seldom found exit light contains a thick solid brass metal wall plate with perforations cut for insertion of the individual fanciful solid glass letters. when illuminated the lettering would glow red as red glass panels were inserted between the letters and the light source. the inset box or compartment containing the sockets was likely left with the building when it was demolished. the nicely aged brass frame contains two screw holes for mounting purposes. the original lettering (free from damage), along with the red and white (the latter used to soften the light intensity) glass panels are mounted within the frame with the original bendable tabs. very well-maintained theater artifact. the alhambra theatre opened in 1927 and was the preeminent movie house in the greater sacramento area for many years. before succumbing to the wrecking ball in 1973. the atmospheric theater was designed in the moorish style of the great spanish cities and included a large interior courtyard, fountain, lavish red carpeting, gold trim and large columns. the theatre was designed by nacht and lewis architects, a firm which was founded in sacramento by new yorker leonard starks in 1922. in addition to the alhambra theater, nacht and lewis designed the the fox-senator theatre, the elks building, c. k. mcclatchy high school and the downtown post office. the theatre was also home to the alhambra pipe organ, an organ of fifteen ranks built by the robert morton organ company in 1927. after it was removed in 1960, the instrument was used by the first baptist church in stockton, and now resides with the kautz family at ironstone vineyards. in 1973, a bond measure intended to allow the city of sacramento to purchase the theatre failed to pass, and the alhambra was demolished to make way for a safeway supermarket. an original fountain is still intact and functioning on the south side of the safeway parking lot. the destruction of the theatre, which was opposed by the public, awakened a preservation movement in sacramento that remains active today and has adopted “remember the alhambra” as a slogan.