Del Oro Theater – Grass Valley, California


Built in the early 1940s by United Artists, the Del Oro has been an icon of Grass Valley, California for generations.

Construction of the Del Oro Theater began in 1941 with its first grand opening on May 29, 1942. Built as a single screen movie theater and adorned with classic Art Deco / Modern architecture, the Del Oro represents a slice of unforgettable time, and despite renovation, the traces of this distant time are still very present, as well as the ghost stories and the underground passages that accompany such pockets in history. Renovated as a triplex in the 1970s, two more theaters were added, giving the Del Oro a total of 845 seats. During construction much of the beautiful art deco design and intricate wall work was covered up or removed, but in the original theater there remains a ceiling fresco, as well as a giant disc-shaped light fixture that changed color with the seasons. Outside the side door is a fire escape, believed to have been the scene of the tragic end of a woman who fell or was pushed against the concrete below. Employees, even the most skeptical, insist that among several legends of premature deaths and subsequent hauntings in the theater, this is the one that scares them the most.

Walking along the modern walls with fresh paint, you’ll almost miss the recessed wall phone booth with the original Pacific Bell glass, and when you walk into the bathroom, it’s like stepping into a tiled living room. 1940s. A peek into the projection room (another site with a decent ghost story about a projectionist who perished inside in an abnormal fire) reveals that it is carefully littered with old light bulbs. and obsolete equipment.

Fans of Art Deco architecture will be able to glimpse the period through the seams, but don’t miss the 70-foot illuminated tower that makes guests feel like stepping back in time to the Golden Days of the photo show. The Del Oro spire acts as a beacon and is the focal point of this small town which is a marriage between the old and the new.

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