The original Theme Building cost $2.2 million to complete in 1961. This picture is actually the 1959 rendering of the place by Pereira and Luckmann, from USC Regional History Archives.
Those arches stand 135 feet high, and 900 tons of structural steel were used in the construction. However, nothing we build can last forever. Chunks of plaster, including one weighing over a thousand pounds and measuring ten feet in length, began dropping from the arches in mid-February 2007, and the high-altitude Encounter Restaurant closed in March.
In June, the announcement came that the building would be shut down for the rest of the year. The employee commissary and City Deli, at street level, remain open.
Other bits of trivia:
- the observation deck of the restaurant has been closed since September 2001, for security reasons
- Walt Disney Imagineering took over in 1996, remodeling and opening the Encounter Restaurant and Bar. The restaurant's website has tons of information--except for updates on the repairs
- Like the Little Country Church of Hollywood, the Theme Building was declared an historic-cultural monument by the city in 1992