Western Street "A"

Western Street "A" as it was known, was the primary backdrop for many of Columbia Pictures Western movies all the way back to the early days. Constructed in 1935, it can be clearly seen in many movies such as the 'Durango Kidd' series, Gene Autry movies and High Noon, Valley of Fire, and Cat Ballou to name a few. It consisted of a Saloon, a Bank, a Sheriff's or Marshall's Office (with Jail), a General Store, a Hotel, a Church, a Town Hall and a Blacksmith and Stable. It had a 'corridor' to Western Street 'B' and European/Colonial Street as well for ease of access all the way around.
From its inception the street had many looks and as with any good Back Lot set would have, the buildings were transformed to be what best suited the films or Directors needs.  Several different buildings appeared as the Sheriff’s or Marshall’s office with the Jail included.  In “Cat Ballou”, “A Good Day for a Hanging”, “High Noon” and even “I Dream of Jeannie” the Jail moved around the street and was portrayed in different locations. Fronts were altered, Facade's were added (to hide the corridors) and Greens were planted, to give it that different look.
Below, a fake structure was sandwiched between the corridor to the European/Colonial set. (Third from the left)
There were two different Saloons, depending upon the need of the film as to which one was used.  In some films the Saloons were depicted as being in two different towns, even though they were both on Western Street “A”. Even the Hotel was located in at least 3 different locations, from “3:10 to Yuma”, “High Noon” and “Cat Ballou”.  Along with Western Street “B” the filming on the Ranch was very flexible in meeting the needs of many of the Classic Westerns. 
But the Western Street’s were also used in many other ways; take for example the transformation of the Western Streets into Small Town America for the Columbia Pictures classic “The Wild One”.  Classic Hollywood magic turned the Western Streets into a typical 1950’s small suburban town, filmed within the same year as “High Noon” on the same back lot set.  A church was hidden by a gas station, fronts were converted from wood frame structures to look like brick or stucco type fronts, the hitchin’ posts were replaced with sidewalks and cars & motorcycles graced the same streets normally used by horses & carriages.
The Western Street’s were even used in the 1960’s by “The Monkees” for many of their off-beat sketches.  Used for a raceway in one episode and for the center of a typical “Hatfield and McCoy” type hillbilly feud and also featured as the seaport of Seattle in Here Come the Brides.
Even the 1930’s & 1940’s “Superman” & “Batman” serials used these streets for rural areas and include the Stables as well.
Three Quarters of “A” Street burned down on January 30th, 1970 fire, and although it was quickly rebuilt according to original blueprints, many changes were made. One major one was the coupella on the first Saloon. The rebuild only had a flat roof and was dressed fairly plain compared to the original. The street itself also seemed wider and it was said that it never did have the same feel as the original.
The newly rebuild Western Street 'A" around 1972.
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