The classic Grand Theater, designed by Architect Albert W. Cornelius, opened on August 11,1923 as a Premier Vaudeville half-house in the city. Conceived and constructed by German-born entrepreneur John C. Droge, the theater was converted to show talkies by the late 1920’s. During its heyday between 1939 and 1941 (under the ownership of the Allen), the facility underwent a massive remodeling, obtained with bold new art deco features including a sculptural marquee designed by Alexander Cantin and futuristic mural by Anthony (Antoon) Heinsbergen. It functioned as an eclectic film house with occasional live performances between the mid-40’s and 1977. As of today, our group has embraced and witnessed three generations of entertainment and fine art at the facility. Droge’s imprints are now felt as the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts across the street at Central Avenue and 7th St. He owned a corner store in what is now the South Gallery, built the (then named) Shamrock (1906) and American (1909) Hotels now housing the GWF Energy Gallery and Arts Education Studios, primarily invested in the Bank of Tracy where the Souza Family Gallery and Loggia reside, and his crown jewel of Tracy–the Grand Theatre, has been restored historically to provide live performances once again.
The Grand is an impressive facility due to its strategic creation as a performing arts organization and educational hub within the City Government, as well as being an important public tool as a project for economic redevelopment in downtown Tracy. Hundreds of community members, patrons of the arts, educators and parents contributed to the planning process which ultimately developed the center’s amenities and programming. The Grand has won awards from The California Heritage Council and the California Preservation Foundation and has been recognized in the State Legislature and the United States. Senate. Senate. The Center was nationally recognized as one of fifty special and important cultural regeneration initiatives surveyed in 2010. The insight obtained from this research project helps to establish new art and cultural centers throughout American communities.
The Grand Theater is a lovely, the bygone age restored theater. The beams and pillars of the sculpture carvings have been completely beautifully restored. The place is rather elegant and offers an outstanding seating arrangement and there is no poor seat in the house a little close on the Isles and this includes the upper balcony. The sound and acoustics are amazing. The performances that were kept representing culture there. This has a feel of a small town with a taste of San Francisco.