2001 Photo from the Dave Felthous collection
1105 Commerce Ave|
|Record #13365 |
Closed: Yes (date unknown)
Capacity: 600 seats|
Architectural Style(s): Oriental
Current Organ: none
| Also Known As: Peekin|
| Previously operated by: SRO Theatres|
Information for this tour was contributed by Dave Felthous.
The Roxy opened as the Chinese-style Peekin (yes, that was the spelling!) in 1925. Its pagoda-style facade survives today. It was built by a local contactor for a customer who fled without paying, leaving the contractor holding the bag -- and the theater. The contractor, Val Quoidbach Sr., and his wife, Gay, with their two small sons moved into the apartment over the lobby and went into the movie business. Val Sr. ran the projector, Gay sold tickets and also operated a gift shop in a tiny retail space next to the entrance.
The Quoidbachs ran the theater for 10 years. The name changed sometime in the 30s and the theater was sold to W.G. Ripley, who also owned the Columbia Theater and the Kelso Theater in nearby Kelso. The Roxy underwent extensive remodeling under Ripley, adding a three-sided marquee and a vertical sign, and de-emphasizing the Chinese decor.
During World War II the Roxy was the premier moviehouse in Longview, showing major-studio, first-run productions. It was sold to the Sterling chain of Seattle in 1945 and the first-run policy moved to the larger and newer Longview Theater. The Roxy switched to weekend operations and showed B pictures, finally closing "for the summer" in June of 1946. The "Closed for the Summer" sign remained in the box-office window for years.
The Roxy was later used as a church and a live theater, then was sold in 1983 to Darrell and Doreen DeWitt, who opened a furniture store in the auditorium and enclosed the old theater entrance and adjacent retail spaces to add display space. The DeWitts have preserved the stage arch, although it is filled in with sheetrock and painted. The arch is all that remains of the old theater.
The furniture store went out of business in 2001 and is being remodeled into a South Pacific-themed restaurant and dance hall. The restaurant will be in the front portion of the building. A wall has been erected across the old auditorium. The back section, including the old stage, will be used for live music and dancing.
Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.
January 2010 photos from the Dave Felthous collection.
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2001 photos from the Dave Felthous collection.
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1926 photos from The Daily News collection.
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Last featured 1/23/2005. Last edited 6/3/2007.
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