Downtown Stockton; this Sunday, history comes to life in classy downtown walking tour!

This Sunday, valley residents have the opportunity to take a free downtown Stockton historic walking tour (details below), wrapped around the classic movie “The African Queen”, showing at the Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre. Following the movie, take an “insider tour” of the old movie house.

Downtown Stockton Alliance guide Manuel Laguna shows off the Hotel Stockton lobby to tour group from Stockton Beautiful.

The tour will start at the south/Weber Avenue entrance to the 1910 Hotel Stockton at Noon, and traverse about four city blocks of Stockton’s most magnificent history, arriving at the Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre in time for lobby entertainment, the Mighty Morton Organ Concert and classic movie showing of The African Queen at 2 PM.  The “insider tour” of the 1930’s art deco theatre will begin at movie’s end.

The Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre opened in 1930; 20,000 people lined up to get a look and to see the movie “Up the River” starring Spencer Tracy. A grand showplace with over 2,000 seats, it was home to musical acts, vaudeville and movies, active until the 1970s – and nearly torn down to be replaced by a parking lot.

The Fox reopened again in the mid-1990s, and 11 years ago, received an $8.5 million restoration by the City of Stockton. A large donation from A. G. Spanos Company allowed Spanos to rename it the Bob Hope Theatre.

A downtown tour can also include a visit to Weber Point, where you’ll find the footprint outline of Captain Weber’s home on the point named for him, as well as a monument that outlines Weber’s early history as founder of our city.

What to take: Good walking shoes, camera!

Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre tour guide Kelly Howard offers an "insider's tour" of the 1930's Art Deco theatre to eager tourists.

Where to park: The Stewart-Eberhardt Parking Garage is just south of Weber, and can be entered from either Center or El Dorado Streets.  From there, it’s just a block walk to the Hotel Stockton and the B&M Building.

More info: For Sunday’s tour, RSVP to 209-470-8923 and plan to meet at the Hotel Stockton’s south entrance on Weber Avenue at Noon.  The tour will reach the Fox/Bob Hope Theatre around 1:00 PM for the Stockton Portsmen Barbershop Chorus; at 1:30, the organ concert begins and the movie follows; the “insider tour” of the Fox Theatre will begin right after the movie, about 4 PM.  The two tours are free, while the classic African Queen, starting at 2 PM, is $8 for adults, $4 for kids and students.

For future downtown Stockton historic walking tours, contact the Downtown Stockton Alliance, www.downtownstockton.org, Manuel Laguna, mlaguna@downtownstockton.org, 209.464.5246; for a tour of the Fox California/Bob Hope Theatre, contact Friends of the Fox Theatre, Kelly Howard, Kellyhoward23@gmail.com, 209.858.9114.

Read more from Tim Viall’s travel blog, follow him on Facebook or Twitter; or, email him at tviall@msn.com. Happy travels in your world!

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