San Francisco Landmarks
The South San Francisco Opera House and the abutting Masonic Hall were built in 1888 in the popular Italianate architectural style.
The name Opera House is misleading. In the 19th century many American theatres used this imposing term even though, as in this case, no opera was performed there.
Famous actors did perform here, including David Belasco, whose name is written in the dressing rooms below the stage, and Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show.
The curtains and drops on the stage came from well known uptown theatres in San Francisco such as the old California Theatre.
The Masonic Lodge and other fraternal organizations met here from about 1890 to 1930. The two buildings served as a chief social, dance, and drama center for the neighborhood. After the vogue of theatrical performances passed, the Opera House was successively used as a dance hall, saddlery, recreation center and offices.
Adapted from San Francisco Planning Commission Resolution 6246 dated 8 August 1968
The South San Francisco Opera House was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011.