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An Inside Look at the Iconic Plaza Theatre: A Preservationist’s Dream

Former Palm Springs Mayor Kleindienst reveals the fascinating history of the Plaza Theatre, a Class 1 Historic Site and one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Palm Springs. He’ll also share a look at the La Plaza Shopping Center. $35 (2 hrs)

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Full Details

This Modernism Week Fall Preview event should not be missed! Join former Palm Springs Mayor Will Kleindienst, a registered California architect, as he reveals the fascinating history of the Plaza Theatre, one of the oldest and most iconic buildings in Palm Springs, and La Plaza Shopping Center. Kleindienst will share little-known secrets about the Theatre, which during its 84-year history played a significant role in the history of the city. The La Plaza Shopping Center was also a significant connection for Palm Springs and Hollywood. This is a rare opportunity to view this Class 1 Historic Site in photos and video before its much-needed comprehensive restoration begins its transformation.

In 1936 the La Plaza Shopping Center was a revolutionary mixed-use shopping concept. It included an underground parking garage built to accommodate 84 cars, chauffeurs' quarters, a full-service automobile garage, food market, bakery, Desmond’s clothing store, hardware store and a nightclub with a large dance hall, that was later converted into rental rooms for single women working in the downtown.

The jewel of La Plaza was the Plaza Theatre, which showcased the world premiere of Camille starring Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor. Movies were its primary role, but it presented depression-era live radio shows. Over the years, the theatre brought national attention to Palm Springs as the venue for memorable shows by the likes of entertainment giants Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny and Bob Hope. In the 1990’s it was the main theater of the Palm Springs International Film Festival and for 23 years was home for the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies musical stage show. The City of Palm Springs has embarked on a significant restoration program to bring the historic theatre back to its original luster. Proceeds from this event benefit will the Save The Plaza Theatre restoration fund. More information is available at


Things to Know

This event is for all ages.
Handicap parking is available.
This event is wheelchair accessible.
There are some exterior and/or interior steps.
The organizer of this event is City of Palm Springs.


Event Check-in Location

Plaza Theatre, 128 S Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262

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Photo Credits: Courtesy Palm Springs Life archive and Palm Springs Historical Society


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