Thursday, May 17, 2012

Laxson Auditorium, Chico State University, 300 W. First Street, Chico, CA

Capacity 1337

Laxson Auditorium was the second structure built to replace the Normal School which burned in 1927. 
Chico Normal Scool, postmark is from 1912

Chico Normal School Owl Club 1901, Chico State Normal School had an Owl Club (see photo right). While the six men making up the club were photographed with their mascot in 1901, meetings were owl-less and focused on self-improvement through literature and music.

It is built of brick in Romanesque style. Built in approximately thirteen months (original blueprint drawings are dated February 24, 1930 and construction began on May 2, 1930) at a cost of $288,703.(2)


The first "event" held in Laxson Auditorium (according to the Chico State Wildcat newspaper) was an assembly on June 4, 1931 to install the new student body officers, including President Melvin Farley. The assembly included a band concert that featured John Philip Sousa's "Liberty Bell March," "Home Sweet Home," and the Chico State fight song, "Hail to Chico State."(2)

Assembly Hall later became known as College Auditorium and then University Auditorium. Initially called Assembly Hall, it was officially named Laxson Auditorium on Sept. 25, 1974 honoring Dr. C. Robert Laxson who was a music professor at the University from 1946 until his death in 1968.(2)

A two-year (1974-1976) $1 million earthquake proofing renovation resulted in a new seating configuration reducing the capacity of the facility from 1,470 to 1,337. The renovation was accompanied by the addition of plush padded seats (compared to the often splintered wooden seats of before) and carpeting.(2)

Laxson Auditorium underwent a complete renovation in the summer of 2006, including newly refurbished seating, new carpet, a refinished stage floor, and an updating of the facilities dressing rooms.(2)

Rumor has it that the ghost of an older woman has been seen sitting in the balcony seats of the Laxson Auditorium.
Dan Goodsell, performance outreach coordinator, was skeptical until he witnessed a suspicious incident in the auditorium, he said.
Four years ago, all the seats and carpets in the auditorium were being redone, he said. Goodsell and colleagues were deciding on a new carpet, and Goodsell laid out a sample and asked if it was a good choice. Immediately after he did so, a light bulb in one of the chandeliers in the balcony broke, shattering over the seats.
"That's when I decided to find another carpet sample," Goodsell said. "Imagine what would have happened if we had chose that carpet - people would have been thrown off the balcony."
The experiences he's heard of the old woman's ghost are not threatening, he said. She just moves around above the stage.
"Stories like mine add to the rumors," Goodsell said. "It's either a coincidence or evidence of something to look out for."(1)
Photo courtesy of Kennedy Coker



Laxson Auditorium underwent a complete renovation in the summer of 2006, including newly refurbished seating, new carpet, a refinished stage floor, lighting and sound equipment upgrades, and an updating of the backstage dressing rooms.(2)



Jerry performed here on
3/17/82 JGB



1.)^Dukkers, Ally, Paranormal activity rumors haunt Chico, 2010-10-26, theorion.com
2.)^Laxson Auditorium, http://www.csuchico.edu/upe/venues/venues.html

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