Coliseum Theater (Seattle)

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Coliseum Theater
Seattle Coliseum Theater 15.jpg
The Coliseum Theater on a winter day.
Coliseum Theater (Seattle) is located in Seattle WA Downtown
Coliseum Theater (Seattle)
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
NRHP reference # 75001854[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP July 7, 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 Park Service (March 13, 2009). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "Landmarks and Designation". Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d Flom, Eric L. (July 12, 2000). "Coliseum opens in Seattle on January 8, 1916.". HistoryLink. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Landmarks Alphabetical Listing for C". Seattle Department of Neighborhoods. Retrieved May 2, 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Coliseum Theater". Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Itinerary. National Park Service. Retrieved May 2, 2009.