When the Merced Theatre opened in 1931, it could hold a quarter of the population of the entire city in one seating. It became the community’s premiere showplace for live performances and motion pictures. Its architecture was rich in Spanish design with a Mediterranean façade in the main theatre and dramatic archways inside.
The Theatre is the only one in the Central Valley designed by the famous Reid Brothers architectural firm, who also designed San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel and the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.
In 1998 a group of Merced residents formed the Merced Theatre Foundation, in order to lead the restoration of the Theatre. The not-for-profit Foundation and the City of Merced are working together to bring the Theatre back to its glorious past. soon, the Theatre will once again host live music, performance, movies, and community events.