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Hamilton Theater

Hamilton Theater

The Hamilton Theater was built and opened on April 7, 1938, where top-flight talent and famous artists visiting the Base like Abbott and Costello (Bud Abbott and Lou Costello), entertained the troops and their families through a live performing arts show or film, offering a reprieve from the stresses of wartime life.

The Hamilton NCO Club and mess hall was also built and opened in 1938. It was a scene of much of the social activity on base for a great number of its residents. The dining hall facilities, card rooms, dance floor, and band stand were on the first floor, while the club operations, including offices, were housed upstairs. Located next to the Hamilton Theater, this facility was a place of community, joy and reprieve.

From 1980 to 1983, Hamilton AFB was used in a particularly special way as the home to the Refugee Transit Center, an operation where 180,000 refugees took safe haven away from the violence in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Afghanistan.

Today, the Hamilton Air Force Base, also known as Hamilton Field, is considered a historic landmark to thousands of Southeast Asian refugees, including people from Laos, who came through Hamilton Field before being sent to their new homes throughout the United States. Over 35,000 of these refugees are living in the San Francisco Bay Area and observe the community’s largest annual celebration, the International Lao New Year Festival (ILNYF), to honor their safe refuge to the US. This festivity occurs annually in

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Hamilton Theater

507 South Palm Drive, Novato, CA 94949


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There is plenty of parking onsite.


Closed at this time until renovated. Our intent is to renovate and open in 2028.


  • Gallery 1 - Hamilton Theater
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  • Gallery 5 - Hamilton Theater
  • Hamilton Theater 2022

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