Park Theatre pre-demolition sale this Saturday and Sunday


With Christmas just around the corner, you may be wondering about that special gift for the guy who seems to have everything. How about a dumbwaiter -- does he have one of those? A ticket booth? Or how about a popcorn machine with snack bar and candy display case ensemble for the foyer?

No? You're in luck. Those items and other old-style cinema artifacts are being sold off this weekend from the long-vacant Park Theatre movie house at 1275 El Camino Real in Menlo Park. The theater has a date with the wrecking ball, but before it settles into dust, the public can purchase a part of its history from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 2 and 3.

The Park Theatre at 1275 El Camino Real in Menlo Park, before it closed in 2002.
A crew from Whole House Building Supply has been cleaning up and pricing items that will be available for sale, including "gorgeous doors with wedge-shaped pieces of glass" that have welcomed movie-goers over the years, according to Paul Gardner, the company's owner.

Other items on the purchase list besides the doors, ticket booth, dumbwaiter and popcorn machine: movie theater seats, a projector screen, drapes and curtains, pulleys, two reels, marquee letters, Douglas fir stage flooring, fire hoses, a utility sink with wall faucet, and more.

Those interested in checking out the sale are encouraged to bring a flashlight, because it's "very dark inside," according to a Whole House Building Supply flier.

Park Theatre owner Howard "Sandy" Crittenden told the Almanac this week that the demolition date has not yet been set for the movie house, built in 1947 and closed since 2002. He said earlier that he plans to develop the property as office and retail space.


Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Oh, no, this can't be!!! : ( How can anyone bulldoze this historic piece of Menlo Park?!? I was born and raised in Menlo Park. When we were kids (late 1940s, early 1950s), our mom drove us down to the Park Theater every single Saturday afternoon to watch movies. Admission price was only 15 cents!!!!! Yes!!! And, we were treated to not only a movie, but newsreels, cartoons and a featured serial episode, to boot. Oh, this is so sad. If I weren't retired and living at the poverty level on Social Security, I would buy the Park Theater in a heartbeat, and restore it to the great movie theater that it once was. I don't want to know the demolition date!!! This news is more than I can bear!!! : (

Like this comment
Posted by sarah
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Nov 1, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Several years ago the City of Menlo Park stopped the owner from demolishing the building after residents protested that it was an historic structure. Why has there been no notice to residents that the city was considering changing its mind to allow demolition?

Like this comment
Posted by Susanne Chang
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2013 at 11:21 am

What happened? I thought they were going to convert the building! I am so sad! The Art Deco Society wanted to save the sign,but no that was no saved either!

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Posted by Shame on the owner
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Nov 2, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Crittendon let this landmark do nothing but deteriorate and bring blight to our town -- really shameful. Having gone to the demolition sale today, we could see what a beauty this must have been for families, until the current owner decided to intentionally wreck it.

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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Nov 2, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Yes,SHAME on the owner!!! His lack of regard for this historic building must be driven by his greed. BOYCOTT everything that has Crittendon's name on it from this day forward. Do NOT feed his greed!!! Crittendon's utter lack of appreciation of, and respect for this historic structure and all that it means to Menlo Park, is beyond disappointing. : (

Like this comment
Posted by WhoRUpeople
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2013 at 10:24 am

Those posting here thus far obviously were not following the story of the Park over the past several years. First, the owner tried to do something with the building that would have provided him a fair return on his investment and retained the building (old theaters like this cannot compete with megaplexes, not his fault), but the City said no to his project--as I recall because of a parking issue. If the Park was so important why didn't the citizens insist that their City Council purchase the building and preserve it. I don't understand how people can blame someone who makes an investment in a piece of property for the purpose of making money; last time I looked capitalism in the US was not a sin. BTW, I also believe that the attempt to get the building registered as historical(such things are subject to State law not vigilante justice) also failed

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Posted by Susan
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Next time you go to the Stanford theatre to see film history, think about the amazing gift Packard gave to the community of
Palo Alto by giving us the Stanford Theatre. I for one support that theatre every chance I get.
Now think about the high tech firms in Menlo Park and how none gave back the historical gift which was the Park Theatre. There was more than enough money to buy it from the owner. New York, Los Angeles and yes San Francisco understand the importance of preserving history. This could have been an art deco conference center, open to both corporations and the public.
Wow in the center of innovation a total lack of vision and where is the outrage?

Even Redwood City restored the Fox....!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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