This article explores the history of El Cine Yost (The Yost Theater) in Santa Ana, California, and the role of the Louis and Phoebe Olivos Sr. family in creating space for the development of ethnic Mexican identity and community in Orange County, California from 1930 to 1990. Alongside traditional archival materials, this article draws on oral history interviews, photographs, ephemera, and newspaper clippings obtained from the Olivos family and patrons of El Cine Yost to demonstrate the emotional ties that individuals and communities form to space and place, as well as the identities and relationships that emerge out of them. In this people-and-place–centered narrative, I argue that El Cine Yost exemplifies the central connections between space, place, and identity in the lived experiences of ethnic Mexicans across the US-Mexico borderlands. Further, this history disrupts the master narrative of Orange County as a place of Anglo-American/European settler history, which has ignored and left undocumented the affirmative presence and contributions of Latinas/os in the region.

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