Designated a Vallejo Landmark in 1990, the Empress Theatre was built in 1911 by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and opened its doors for the first time in 1912. The Beaux Arts style building was two-tiered with gold-leafed clouds on the ceiling, red velvet seats, and a pipe organ. Since that time the building has gone through several cycles of decline and renovation. The theatre’s interior layout dates from a 1930 Fox West Coast renovation after a ruinous fire, while the magnificent Skouras ceiling and scroll-work arrived during a 1952 renovation. The building was damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and, requiring expensive seismic upgrades, remained vacant for nearly twenty years. In 2007 the theatre underwent a restoration consisting of a comprehensive seismic retrofit while preserving the Empress’ historic character and charm. The work included new seating, extensive facelifts of the lobby area and restrooms, and upgrades to the theater’s stage, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. All original neon from the 1950’s was refurbished and reinstalled in its original location throughout the theatre.
330 Virginia Street
Vallejo, CA 94590