First Theater – California’s Gold (2001)

On this adventure, Huell goes in search of California’s “First Theater.” As usual, nothing is simple in California because there are actually two first theaters. From Monterey to Sacramento we uncover California’s theater history.

Huell starts his search in Monterey at “California’s First Theater”. An English sailor by the name of Jack Swan completed his saloon/boarding house in 1847 and very quickly US soldiers stationed in Monterey where putting on shows in his building. The building went through many incarnations over the years until 1937 when it was reopened as a theater. The Troupers of the Gold Coast (the oldest continually performing theatrical company in the world) have been entertaining audiences ever since. Huell gets a tour and sees a performance in California’s first first theater.

Next, Huell is off to Sacramento to California’s second first theater, the Eagle Theater. Mr. Zadock Hubbard and Mr. Gates Brown, owners of the Round Tent Saloon located on J Street near the corner of Front Street, financed the construction of the Eagle Theater in 1849, to provide entertainment for the hordes of miners and emigrants coming to Sacramento during the Gold Rush. Construction began in July and the building was completed by September 1849.

Huell gets a wonderful tour and again we get to see a performance on a very historic stage.