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Azteca Theater


As the only Spanish language theater from 1948-1980 in the Central Valley, the Azteca theater became a cinema treasure and refuge for the predominantly immigrant Mexican American community in the region.

The Azteca opened its doors on November 30, 1948 and some of Mexico’s biggest names from the Golden Age of Cinema called the Azteca home. Maria Felix, Agustin Lara, Pedro Armendariz, Antonio Aguilar and Pedro Infante were among those who graced the stage at the Azteca.

The Azteca also served as a cultural center for the Latinx community. The Azteca hosted a rally for Cesar Chavez on March 24, 1966 and over a thousand people came to the to hear him speak during his famous 340-mile march from Delano to Sacramento.

Arturo Tirado, owner of the Azteca at the time and unofficial “mayor of West Fresno”, utilized his relationships with city officials to ensure Chavez and his marchers were protected and welcomed when they arrived in Fresno.

Tirado operated the Azteca until the mid-1980’s and played host to many charitable food drives and even provided valuable legal citizenship information. Although much of the original elements of the theater are gone, the building still stands as a reminder of the rich history 

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Cesar Chavez

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838 F St

Fresno, CA 93706


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"The unoficial mayor of West Fresno"

Arturo Tirado, often referred to as the unofficial “mayor of West Fresno”, elevated the Azteca to new heights during his time as owner.


In 1956 Gustavo A. Acosta owner of the Azteca leased the theater to Tirado, unleashing a golden age of cinema in the Central Valley.

 Tirado brought in household names from Mexico's Golden Age of Cinema to the screen and stage. The Azteca became a cultural epicenter under his direction hosting several rallies led by Cesar Chavez. His political influence ensured Cesar Chavez and his followers were always protected.


In its later years Tirado used the Azteca as a cultural epicenter. Charitable food drives and even citizenship information was provided for the Latinx community.  held many charitable food drives and even provided valuable legal citizenship information to the Latinx community.

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