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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rolls of carpet replace reels of film in an old Highland Park movie house

It's been a long time since anyone has watched a film at the Franklin Theatre in Highland Park. The former Figueroa Street movie house near Avenue 55 closed decades ago and the building it once occupied is now home to MP Carpet Service. While the seats and projectors have been ripped out and the auditorium gutted and carved into separate spaces, faded wall murals and even a strip of the stage curtain still hover over giant rolls and scraps of carpet.

Highland Park historian Charles Fisher provided some history on the Franklin in a comment posted on Cinema Treasures:

"The Franklin Theater building is a product of over 80 years of adaptive reuse. It was originally built in 1922 for Fred Stillwell as an automobile sales agency and garage. By 1929, it was operated by the local Chevrolet dealer. In 1934, new owner, E. H. Rose converted the building to a market. The facade was redesigned in [concrete] by architect, W. L. Schmolle. The theater conversion occurred in 1936, when Rose hired architect Lyle N. Barcume, engineer Harold P. King and contractor G. S. Griffith to convert the existing structure into a theater. The marquee, which was engineered by Blaine Noice (who engineer many of the buildings at the old Walt Disney Studios on Hyperion Avenue) and designed and built by QRS Neon Corporation, LTD, was installed in September of that year and the the venue opened as the "Hughes Theatre". The name was later changed to the "Franklin Theatre", under which it operated until 1952, when it closed and was converted to DeWitt Storage."

One MP Carpet customer told the owners of the days she saw movies at the Franklin when she was girl. Members of the family who own the business, which has been located in the building since the early 1990s, said the murals are in a fragile state, with paint flaking off the walls even during a light cleaning. So, they are left untouched and forgotten.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if that curtain fragment is actually the bottom edge of a complete curtain.