Gaslight Theater History

After fire destroyed the two-story schoolhouse that formerly sat on the property where the Denair Gaslight Theater and Denair Community Center now sit, it was determined that a new school would have to be built. In February 1917, a $28,000 bond measure was passed for the construction of a new grammar school. There were 280 votes cast, with 211 votes in favor. A new brick grammar school was built slightly south of the site of the burned-down two-story structure at the corner of Gratton and Zeering Roads and was first occupied in 1918.

Originally built as the auditorium for the Denair Grammar School, the Gaslight Theater has been in continuous use since opening in 1918. The original Grammar School consisted of five classrooms, bathrooms, library, school offices and teachers’ room, as well as a cafeteria. In 1940 the auditorium was remodeled in conjunction with the Works Progress Administration. The whole property was estimated to be worth $45,800 in 1946.

The Denair Grammar school site at Gratton and Zeering Roads quickly became too small for the growing population of Denair. A new elementary school was proposed across the railroad tracks at Hawthorne Street and Madera Avenue in 1946. After completion of the new elementary school, the classroom wings of the grammar school were removed, leaving just the auditorium, which became known and the Denair Golden Gaslight Theater.

In the 1960’s, a new fire department was built at the corner of Zeering and Gratton Roads, right next to the Gaslight Theater.

The Denair Community Services District purchased the facility in 1968 and on March 21, 1978 the building was declared a historical site. 

Want to learn more? Purchase Images of America: Denair by James Shehan. Available on Amazon and at Grandma’s Treasures 4616 Main St, Denair.