San Jose Film Buffs Push To Save ‘Cathedral-Like’ Domed Movie Theaters

SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The fate of three 50-year-old movie theaters in San Jose will be reviewed Tuesday night by the city council as some city leaders argue they are buildings that don’t deserve to be spared from demolition.

With movie screens that are four to five stories tall, the three domed Century theaters in San Jose have been described as a sanctuary to the silver screen.

“When you first walk in, it’s like walking in to a Cathedral,” long-time movie buff Stan Souls told KCBS. “You can go to the church at the corner or you can to the Sistine Chapel.”

The theaters, however, haven’t necessarily elicited the same warm feelings in City Hall. Mayor Chuck Reed wrote a letter to the state Office of Historic Preservation making the case that the theaters are “obsolete” and don’t fit into the city’s Urban Village plan on Winchester Boulevard.

“The question is: Does the movie theater you went to as child historic? I believe the answer is no. Is it sentimental? Perhaps,” City Councilmember Pete Constant recently told KPIX 5.

The Silicon Valley Business Insider reported the theater’s lease on its 11-acre site is coming to an end.

The City Council will discuss the issue on Tuesday night, and preservationists, who claim the buildings exhibit mid-century modern architecture that’s become rare, are expected to turn out in droves in support of the theaters.


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