Save The Winchester Domes
  • Petitioning Mayor Chuck Reed
  • Responded

This petition will be delivered to:

The City of San Jose
Mayor Chuck Reed
City of San Jose Deputy Director of Planning
Laurel Prevetti
Councilmember, District 1
Pete Constant
Councilmember, District 2
Ash Kalra
Councilmember, District 3
Sam Liccardo
Councilmember, District 4
Kansen Chu
Councilmember, District 5
Xavier Campos
Councilmember, District 6
Pierluigi Oliverio
District 7
Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen
Councilmember, District 8
Rose Herrera
Councilmember, District 9
Donald Rocha
See response
Councilmember, District 10
Johnny Khamis
City of San Jose Director of Planning, Building and Code Enforcement
Harry Freitas

Save The Winchester Domes

    1. Petition by

      The Preservation Action Council of San Jose & The Retro Dome

It was recently announced that the ground lease is due to expire and the landowner is seeking to find a developer for the property that is currently home to the Winchester Theaters, formerly The Century Theaters (21, 22 and 23.) These iconic theaters, built in the 1960s to herald both the space age and new cinema technology, are at risk of demolition.


Don't Let The Domes Meet Their Doom

The Retro Dome (under the direction of Guggenheim Entertainment, Inc) and the Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC-SJ) are partnering to raise awareness and promote action pertaining to the “Winchester Domes.” Since 1990, PAC-SJ has been dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage of San Jose.

The large, dome-shaped venues are located on the property adjacent to the famous Winchester Mystery House and across the street from the Santana Row shopping center, visible from 280. Theater 21 is a single screen; Theater 23 is a two screen theater, each under a single dome; and Theater 22 has three single theaters under three domes. The City of San Jose is in the process of trying to rezone the commercial property as an "Urban Village" to allow for high-density residential development. 


A Call to Action

We invite you to join the many Silicon Valley residents in favor of preserving these historically significant venues. We believe the Domes should be saved and reused, and incorporated into any Urban Village proposal. One example of reuse would be preserving Century 22 to provide a home to The Retro Dome, which occupied a sister Dome on Saratoga Avenue but was recently displaced when plans were announced to demolish the former Century 25. A wonderfully historic building would be saved from the wrecking ball and The Retro Dome would be reborn and serve as a home to multiple Silicon Valley-based performing arts groups. With the three adjoining theaters, Guggenheim Entertainment and its partners would be able to offer the region a cooperative Performing Arts Center unrivaled by any other.



The buildings—originally called the Century Theaters—were the first theaters of their kind. Designed by San Francisco architect Vincent Raney and opened between 1964 and 1966 to accommodate a new widescreen technology called Cinerama that was developed to help theaters distinguish themselves from television, The Century Theaters are a cultural symbol of postwar prosperity for the masses and a widespread optimism in the future. Although the theaters have not been granted landmark status yet some architectural historians agree these are some of the best remaining examples of mid-century modern architecture in Silicon Valley and have as much historical significance as the Winchester Mystery House.


The Future

After nearly four successful years in their location at the former Century 25 Theater, The Retro Dome (under the direction of Guggenheim Entertainment, Inc) was forced to close its doors when the property owner refused to renew the lease.  Guggenheim Entertainment is looking for a new location to make its home, offering the community and region high quality, professional entertainment and educational programming. 

Saving the Domes is an opportunity to restore and reuse an historic property. The Retro Dome and its partners stand poised to immediately provide tenants for the building and breathe new life into whichever venues can be saved. The Retro Dome, with its award-winning programs, would be able to move in and begin operations immediately, creating captivating entertainment for all ages and demographics, making the new Retro Dome another jewel in the crown that is Silicon Valley's entertainment scene.




Recent signatures


    1. Reached 8,000 signatures
    2. Dome-alition of Century 24 and Century 25

      January 2014: both Century 24 and Century 25 in San Jose have been razed. No word yet on the plans for the former site of Century 25 but thankfully Century 24 will be replaced by a brand new movie theatre. Please spread the link to this petition to make sure we don't see three more dome-alitions in the coming months!

    3. Reached 4,000 signatures
    4. Two Facebook Pages Launched to Share News and Support

      Please join us on Facebook for updates about the success of this campaign. There are two pages actively working to preserve the Domes:
      You can even view images of the venues in their heyday and share your memories and hopes for the future of the Domes.

      SAVE the Winchester Domes - SIGN The Petition

      SAVE the Winchester Domes - SIGN The Petition. 33 likes · 0 talking about this. The Retro Dome (under the direction of Guggenheim Entertainment, Inc) and the Preservation Action Council of San Jose (PAC-SJ) are partnering to raise awareness and promote action pertaining to the "Winchester Domes."

    5. Reached 750 signatures
    6. Decision-maker Donald Rocha responds:

      Donald Rocha

      keep the dome, rebuild frontier village and santa's village

    7. Reached 25 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Abigail Dunlay LOS GATOS, CA
      • 6 days ago

      As someone born and raised in the bay area, I have grown up watching historic spaces crumble to make way for (you guessed it!) housing developments, strip malls, office space, and other places where life & culture simply do not happen. Historic and architecturally fascinating spaces are being torn down for transient cookie cutter buildings & businesses that no one will care about. Silicon Valley desperately is in need of historic, cultural, and fun spaces for families and youth-- Century 21 is one of those places.

      My mother frequented this theater as a kid and all the way through my youth. I remember going to the premiere of star wars III, lord of the rings, and other amazing films here. I will never forget how magical it felt to be inside the dome-- I felt so small and like I was about to be transported with hundreds of others to another world. You can't help but marvel every time you go to those theaters. Every experience I had there was extraordinary. They simply don't build theaters like this anymore and it would be a shame to see it go.

      I'm sick of helplessly watching historic monuments, buildings, orchards-- any place that reflects what the not-so-distant past of silicon valley used to be like-- be torn down due to greed & lack of foresight. No one wants more offices. No one wants more strip malls. No one wants more housing developments.

      It feels like it's more important to you to cram as many people in the bay as possible than it is to foster spaces for life to flourish, places to go to create memories & remember the culture of those who have lived here for generations.

      Save Century 21!!

    • Emily Foley SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA
      • 9 days ago

      Because as a budding city planner, growing up in Santa Clara's Old Quad neighborhood, historical preservation is important to me.

    • mike swindell APTOS, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      We have often made trips from Santa Cruz over Hwy 17 to see movies at the Century 21 domes, and when we do we usually will have dinner in the area when we do. I know many of my friends in Santa Cruz also made the regular trip to watch movies at the domes. I think San Jose needs to take into consideration what a unique theater experience like the domes brings in shoppers, diners, and consumers from outer areas to spend in San Jose. Watching movies at the domes is a special movie experience that is unique and preferable to other theater choices. If the domes don't return we'll likely stay in Santa Cruz and watch movies at our local downtown theater from now on.

    • Sherri Orlandella BOSTON, MA
      • about 1 month ago

      I don' t want to see you lose the winchester domes.

    • Ray Gauthier SANTA CLARA, CA
      • about 1 month ago

      Its a landmark in San Jose!


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