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Barnum Hall

Map & Directions 600 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405


Merchant's Description

The theater was designed by the architecture firm of Marsh, Smith & Powell. Norman Marsh is perhaps best known for designing several prominent buildings in Venice, California, including the Parkhurst Building, and working on plans for the city's arcaded streets and canals. One of Barnum Hall's designers, Henry Alfred Buxton, also worked on the design of the Grauman's Chinese Theater. Santa Monica embraced the building by funding two separate bond issues to complete the theater. However, they still ran out of funds and, as a consequence, the seats in the upper balcony were donated Victorian seats from the 1890s. Originally, the theater was painted in shades of green, in the period's deco style, with green quarry tile in the lobby and contrasting darker green carpeting and seat upholstery. At its completion, the theater was one of the finest Art Deco theaters of its time. It is a textbook example of the style, Streamline Moderne.

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