As mentioned in my last post, Bakersfield has a lot of vintage neon still out in the wild, plus a few pretty amazing backlit plastic signs, which was one of the reasons we wanted to visit. And boy did we find some great signs, plus we stumbled upon some abandoned locations as well.
Located in downtown Bakersfield, the Fox Theatre opened on Christmas day, 1930, and was designed by Los Angeles architect S. Charles Lee. The only air-conditioned movie theater in the San Joaquin Valley, it seated 1500 movie goers and originally it featured a Mediterranean village interior. In 1953 it received an Art Deco update, revamping the marquee and box office, along with adding a concession stand to the lobby. In 1977 the movie palace closed, and was threatened with demolition, but the community rallied to save it, and it reopened in 1994, staying a movie theatre, while also proving a venue for performing arts and local events.
Like many hotels of its time, the Padre Hotel features an amazing rooftop neon sign that still lights up at night. Built in 1928 the Padre Hotel is located near the Fox and a plethora of antique malls in downtown. It is also supposedly haunted!
Established in 1940, Guthrie’s Alley Cat features an amazing Streamline Moderne “awning” of sorts and an adorable cat instead of the word “cat” on its neon sign.
The Nile (now Resurrection Church) 1721 19th Street
Originally the home of the Bakersfield Opera House in 1906, it became The Nile in 1924, and underwent various remodels, including becoming a twin screen theatre in 1976. It closed in 1994, later transforming into the Nile Bar & Grill in 2006. Like other old cinemas, it is now a church. Also, like the Padre, it is supposedly haunted.
I highly recommend taking a spin around Bakersfield if you find yourself on a road trip through it. And for more great signs and a bite to eat, I recommend Andre’s Drive-In!