CHARLES E. HART
“Let’s go to Hart’s Theatre tonight.”
The writer took out his pencil and paper and started to figure out just how many times San Mateans said these magic words each evening after supper as they were planning the evening’s amusement. How many times do they say this each month—and how many hundreds of thousand times a year?
Mr. Hart is known as the owner and manager of Hart’s Theatre located in the heart of town on B Street, and has earned the reputation of being a sterling business man who has made most of his money right here in San Mateo—and is spending it right here where he has earned it.
Mr. Charles E. Hart was born in London on Dec. 15, 1869, and took up his residence in the United States eighteen years ago, having been a resident of California only eight years, seven of which he has spent in San Mateo.
The foundation of Mr. Hart’s prosperity was laid in following his chosen vocation—music. He made considerable money as musical director of several comic opera companies in New York, composing many of the most successful productions himself. Many of his early compositions are still on the market.
Mr. Hart started in the moving picture line in San Mateo with a small theatre, and when the Elks built their home here, he leased the first floor for a moving picture and vaudeville theatre which proved a great success. From this investment he built Hart’s Theatre, a thoroughly up-to-date playhouse at a cost of $20,000, equipping it only a short time ago with a pipe organ that cost $6,000, It is an admitted fact that there is not a town on the Pacific coast the size of San Mateo that can boast of a more popular playhouse.
Mr. Hart received a thorough musical education in conservatories of the highest order in the old country, where he was organist in various Catholic Churches. Besides his duties as manager of the theatre, Mr. Hart is director and manager of an up-to-date and complete orchestra which supplies the different clubs and homes of this part of the peninsula with music for entertainments as well as the society circles of Burlingame and Hillsborough.
Has Mr. Hart a “hobby”? Yes, he certainly has—and when you ask him this question his eyes brighten, and he will inform you that his “hobby” is music, as he derives most of his pleasure in life from this source. He was married in New York City in 1898. Mrs. Hart, who is a native daughter of this state, born in San Francisco, is also a talented musician having been educated in San Francisco and New York, after which she appeared in several high-class productions as prima donna, as well as in concert work.
Since the Harts have located in San Mateo, she has appeared several times in local concerts and answered frequent calls for professional work in San Francisco.
Mr. and Mrs. Hart are firm believers in every phase of home production—that loyal San Mateans should patronize local merchants and thereby help build up the locality in which they live.
Mr. Hart’s sudden death last February, just a short time before this volume went to press, came as a great shock to his family and hosts of friends in San Mateo County.
Transcribed by Betty Wilson
Source: History of San Mateo County by Philip W. Alexander & Charles P. Hamm page 123-124. Press of Burlingame Publishing Co., Burlingame, CA. 1916.
© 2004 Betty Wilson.
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