1924 ~ Originally opened in as The Carter Theatre with 636 seats, an orchestra pit and pipe organ. It was constructed in a modest vernacular style with “orientalizing” touches reminiscent of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Two storefronts flanked the theatre.
1934 ~ Remodeled in art deco streamline moderne style by Schilling & Schilling after the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and renamed The Lee Theatre. Additions included the ticket booth, terrazzo floor and zigzag elements like the stepped piers, vertical fluting, and the central-stepped vertical tower that unfolds as a fern. This tower has also been likened to the bow of a ship cutting through the water.
1947 ~ Remodeled again with a larger marquee and named The Art Theatre.
2008 ~ Updated using original blueprints with new interior, new sound and vision upgrades and restored exterior including a replica of the 1934 marquee and art deco trademark symmetrical storefronts.