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California Theater

562 W 4th St., San Bernardino, CA
Phone: 909-885-5152x

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The California Theatre was built in 1928 as a vaudeville house and still houses the original Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. The theater sits on the 1926 to 1930s alignment of Route 66 in San Bernardino. In 1999 the city started the renovation of the theater. It is now known as California Theater of the Performing Arts. It was placed on the National Register Historic Places in 2009.

The theater has another connection to the Mother Road, it's home to a pair of larger than life murals portraying Will Rogers in whose honor the highway later became known as the Will Rogers Highway. In 1935 Rogers gave his last public appearance here, just weeks before he died in a plane crash. The murals appear on the east and west exterior walls of the flyspace and are jointly titled "Will Rogers Monument".

xThis mural was based on vintage photos of Will Rogers. The cowboy image of Rogers holding a rope harkens back to his vaudeville days. Completed in 1998, it faces east towards the world famous humorists home state of Oklahoma and beyond.

x This 1999 mural of Will Rogers as a statesman is on the west wall of the theater. The mural pictures Rogers looking towards Los Angeles where he had been a star in Hollywood in both silent and takie movies, not to mention his success as a radio personality.

These murals were created by renowned artist Kent Twitchell who spent a week at the Will Rogers Museum in Claremore Oklahoma researching the subject.

Photo(s): 2013



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.