San Jose Dome Theaters on Verge of Showing Last Film

San Jose's popular dome theaters are on the verge of showing a final film.

The company that operates the iconic theaters, located off Winchester Boulevard and across from Santana Row, plan to stop showing movies in the three domes on March 31. All are planned for eventual demolition now that their lease is up.

The city's preservation action council is working to preserve all three domes, especially the oldest, Century 21.

The Century 21 Dome opened in November 1964.

"As I recall the very first movies were on a reserved seating basis like a concert," said Brian Grayson, who sits on the preservation action council. "There's the architecture, the time period and the fact the building is in tact and it is representative of that time period."

Activists hope the Century 21 Theatre can be incorporated into whatever new development is built, and that it will continue to be used as a movie theater.

City Councilman Pete Constant is in favor of removing the iconic buildings.

"I don't think there is any purpose in preserving the building," he said. "It's younger than I am and I am 50 years old."

The preservation council has collected 5,000 signatures from people who are in support of saving the dome theaters. An application has also been submitted to have the dome designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The San Jose Historical Landmarks Commission will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. (PDF) to look at a proposal to designate the dome a historic landmark and provide comments to the state historic commission. The state commission meets April 22 in Pacific Grove. Preservation activists are petitioning to have the dome designated a national historical landmark. That designation, however, still does not guarantee that it will be saved.

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