from Oakland History Room

The Chimes Theatre was a movie theater at 5631 College Avenue. It was built in 1917 for Beach & Krahn, and designed by Cantin & Cantin. It included a row of four large, musical chimes on the front, hence the name. 1

The Chimes was built with 1,276 seats. It had a number of remodels over the years. In 1920, architect James Plachek did the first remodel. In 1929,3 the projection booth was re-equipped for sound. The exterior was redone in 1931 by original architect A. A. Cantin and renamed The Uptown. By the late 1930s it was renamed back to the Chimes Theatre, and received yet another exterior remodel by Cantin in the 1940s. 1,2 (NB: It still appears the Uptown in the 1939 directory.4)

It closed as a theater by the early 1950s. In February, 1958, a skating rink was added on the second floor and was called Chimes Skateland ("Chimes Skateland—-Just a Little Nicer".) A short-lived trampoline was added in 1960, and a bowling alley, Chimes Lanes, in 1961. 1,2

c.1928 5

It was badly damaged in a fire in 1963 and closed. The remains were demolished to make way for the Grove Shafter Freeway in April of 1965. 1,2,6

Demolition photo 6

Links and References

1923 ad (note: should read "Bluebeard's 8th Wife")

  1. Chimes Theatre
  2. Theatres of Oakland by Jack Tillmany and Jennifer Dowling, Arcadia Publishing
  3. Chimes Theater Reopens Tonight With 'Talkies' Oakland Tribune February 14, 1929
  4. Polk's Oakland 1939
  5. ohrphoto.oaktheaters.006 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  6. Photograph of boys watching demolition Oakland Tribune April 20, 1965

Oakland Tribune February 14, 1929Building and Engineering News, 1917