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Coliseum Theatre

2001 Photo from the Dave Felthous collection
Fifth Ave & Pike St
Seattle WA

Closed National Register 1975
Record #9991  
 Opened: January 8, 1916
 Closed: Yes (date unknown)
 Current Use: Retail
Capacity: 1870 seats
Architect(s): B Marcus Priteca
Architectural Style(s): Renaissance Revival
National Register: 1975
Current Organ: none
 Also Known As:
 Previously operated by: National General Theatres

Information for this tour was contributed by Dave Felthous.

Now on the National Historic Registry, the Coliseum, built in 1914, was "understood to be the first theater in America built especially for motion pictures," according to a plaque attached to the marble exterior.

Designed by world renowned theater architect B. Marcus Priteca, a Seattle resident, the Coliseum had a modest-sized main floor plus a small mezzanine (which is where the projection booth was) and a huge upper balcony. It was operated for years as a first-run theater by Fox West Coast Theaters and then its Northwest division, Fox Evergreen.

The Coliseum was "open all night," meaning customers arriving by midnight could see a complete show, which was usually a major film plus a B-picture second feature.

The Coliseum went downhill after it was purchased by Portland-based Luxury Theaters around 1970. The "all night" policy was dropped and the building deteriorated physically, eventually closing.

In the 90s the Banana Republic clothing company constructed a store within the theater but managed to retain much of the old theater's interior, out of sight behind false walls and ceilings. Theoretically it could be coverted back to a theater fairly easily, but that doesn't seem likely.

 Photos remain the property of the Member and may not be reproduced without the written consent of the Member.

March 2006 photos from the Darren Snow collection.

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Photos from the William Newman collection.

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Last featured 2002-12-27. Last edited 3/13/2010.

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