CITY OF BERKELEY LANDMARK
designated in 1982
(Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church)
Hiram Lovell, Architect, 1920, 1914
James W. Plachek, Architect, 1921
The popularity of early movies created a demand for new spaces to accommodate eager
audiences. South Berkeley’s first neighborhood theater with 144 stools for seats was established
across Adeline Street in a storefront. In 1910 this building was constructed with 400 seats. It
was soon enlarged to 800 seats. The owners advertised that “every foot of film” that was
shown had passed their own “personal inspection.”
In 1921 James Plachek redesigned the theater to provide 1,500 seats, an organ to accompany
silent films, an Italian Renaissance-style facade and a large marquee. In 1954 the
building began a second life as the home of the Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church.
The congregation raised the substantial sum necessary to renovate the building
in 1999 for earthquake safety and to restore much of the facade.
Berkeley Historical Plaque Project