Not to be confused with the “Balboa Theater,” the “Balboa Theatre” (note the spelling difference) has been with us since 1924, when it opened, hosting nationally known vaudeville acts.

Since that time, the Balboa has gone through many changes, and was almost lost to the wrecking ball. Highlights from this great theater’s history include 1930-1940, when the theater showed Spanish-language cinema and stage shows.

Around 1942 the theater gave itself over to the U.S. Navy in the early days of World War II, converting the office space to housing to help accommodate the swelling ranks of the U.S. military.

Let’s take a minute to stop and dance “The Balboa” before going on with our history lesson:

Now back to history. The Balboa was slated to be demolished in 1959, to make room for a parking lot. It was saved by Russo Enterprises who operated the theater as an action-movie venue.

In 1972, the City of San Diego placed the building on the local Register of Historical Places, later acquiring the building in 1985 through eminent domain.

The Balboa Theatre Foundation http://www.thebalboa.org/whoweare.htm was created in 1986 to get a renovation project funded and started. The foundation successfully lobbied to get the Balboa on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 and fundraising began in earnest.

To find out what happened next, see History of the Balboa Theatre http://www.thebalboa.org/history.htm. Tours of the newly renovated and earthquake-safe Balboa are now being conducted and tickets for upcoming performances are on sale. Come by and enjoy this national treasure, whose history is so much a part of San Diego.

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