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The view from the Bayview Opera House

This year marks the 125th birthday of a San Francisco historic Landmark. Not City Hall, not the Golden Gate. The Bayview Opera House — San Francisco’s oldest theatre. 

It was built in 1888, and over the decades it has expanded from being just a performance for vaudeville and opera, and now it also focuses on visual arts, education, social activism and community building. 

The opera house closed recently for restoration. Last week, Mayor Ed Lee and the San Francisco Arts Commission broke ground on the building’s renovation. 

I went by the opera house before it closed, and spoke with its executive director, Barbara Ockel about the opera house, then and now.

BARBARA OCKEL: "The landmark program started late 1967, and this is landmark number eight in San Francisco. We're before Legion of Honor, before City Hall, before all kinds of buildings that are way more famous."

Click the player above to listen to the full interview.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.