San Francisco Landmarks

San Francisco Landmark #195: Alcazar Theater 23 June 2003
San Francisco Landmark #195
Alcazar Theater
650 Geary Street Between Jones and Leavenworth
Built 1917

This eclectic Moorish/Byzantine building, commissioned by the Shriners as the Islam Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of Mystic Shrine, was designed by architect Thomas Patterson Ross.

The façade, with Byzantine arches and filigree lattice work, is primarily of ornate polychrome terra cotta with a granite water table. The June 1917 edition of Architect and Engineer noted that the temple was "an adaptation from Alhambra, a building that stands as the highest mark of Arabian art and civilization."

The Islam Temple was used for Shriner meetings and ceremonies from 1918 to 1970. Later it functioned as a small theater in the tradition of the original Alcazar Theater which was located on O'Farrell Street. (The original Alcazar opened in 1885, was destroyed by the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, was rebuilt, and was razed for a parking lot in 1963.)

(Source: San Francisco Landmarks Preservation Advisory Board Final Case Report 17 May 1989)

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