Lorin Theater (Phillips Temple, C.M.E. Church) Plaque

Lorin Theater (Phillips Temple, C.M.E. Church)


3332 Adeline Street map it


designated in 1982

Lorin Theater
(Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church)

Hiram Lovell, Architect, 1914*
James W. Plachek, Architect, 1920*

The popularity of early movies created a demand for new spaces to accommodate eager audiences. South Berkeley’s first neighborhood theater with 144 stools for seats was established across Adeline Street in a storefront. In 1910 this building was constructed with 400 seats. It was soon enlarged to 800 seats. The owners advertised that “every foot of film” that was shown had passed their own “personal inspection.”

In 1921 James Plachek redesigned the theater to provide 1,500 seats, an organ to accompany silent films, an Italian Renaissance-style facade and a large marquee. In 1954 the building began a second life as the home of the Phillips Temple C.M.E. Church. The congregation raised the substantial sum necessary to renovate the building in 1999 for earthquake safety and to restore much of the facade.

*corrected dates

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project

  • Lorin Theater interior (1921), James W. Plachek Collection, BAHA Archives

  • James W. Plachek, James W. Plachek Collection, BAHA Archives

Photo credit abbreviations:
BAHA: Berkeley Architectural Heritage Assn.
BHS: Berkeley Historical Society