Coliseum Theater (Seattle, Washington)

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Coliseum Theater
Seattle - Coliseum Theater at night 01.jpg
The Coliseum Theater at night in the Holiday Season.
Coliseum Theater (Seattle, Washington) is located in Washington (state)
Coliseum Theater (Seattle, Washington)
Location 5th Ave. and Pike St., Seattle, Washington
Coordinates 47°36′41″N 122°20′2″W / 47.61139°N 122.33389°W / 47.61139; -122.33389Coordinates: 47°36′41″N 122°20′2″W / 47.61139°N 122.33389°W / 47.61139; -122.33389
Built 1916
Architect Priteca, B. Marcus
Architectural style Late 19th And 20th Century Revivals, Second Renaissance Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 75001854[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 07, 1975
Designated SEATL January 17, 1978[2]

The Coliseum Theater, a former cinema in Seattle, Washington, opened January 8, 1916.[3] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975,[1] and is also an official Seattle city landmark.[4] Designed by B. Marcus Priteca, it was Seattle's first theater built specifically for showing movies, and was one of the first cinemas anywhere to strive for architectural grandeur.[5] When it opened, it was advertised as "the world’s largest and finest photoplay palace."[3] In 1931, the Journal of the Royal Institute of Architects called it "the first of the world's movie palaces."[5]

The exterior features elaborate terra cotta work, and the original interior was comparably ornate. When it opened in the silent film era, it boasted a 7-piece orchestra plus an organist; the giant organ was made by Moller, and the musicians—all Russians—were reputed to be the highest-paid movie theater musicians in the country. Anita King attended the opening night to give a speech dedicating the theater.[3]

The Coliseum continued as a first-run theater into the late 1970s,[5] and continued to show films until 1990.[3] In 1995, the building was rehabilitated as a Banana Republic clothing store.[5]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ "Landmarks and Designation". City of Seattle. Retrieved 2013-03-04. 
  3. ^ a b c d Eric L. Flom, Coliseum opens in Seattle on January 8, 1916., HistoryLink, 2000-07-12. Accessed 2009-05-02.
  4. ^ Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for C, Department of Neighborhoods, City of Seattle. Accessed 2009-05-02.
  5. ^ a b c d Coliseum Theater, Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Itinerary, National Park Service. Accessed 2009-05-02.