[graphic heading] Seattle: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Servicer

Coliseum Theater
A 1931 issue of the Journal of the Royal Institute of Architects referred to Seattle's Coliseum Theater as "the first of the world's movie palaces." The Coliseum is an early example of these large-scale, luxuriously-decorated theaters designed specifically for the exhibition of motion pictures. In 1915, at the start of the silent-film era, the Coliseum opened as Seattle's first theater built expressly for showing movies. The Coliseum is one of the many movie houses designed by B. Marcus Priteca, the official architect of vaudeville magnate Alexander Pantages's theater empire. Responsible for the design and remodeling of over 200 Pantages theaters, including Seattle's Paramount Theater, Priteca became nationally recognized as an expert in modern, high-quality theater design. Perhaps his most famous theater was the opulent Hollywood Pantages at the famed corner of Hollywood and Vine. The Coliseum Theater played first-run movies until the late 1970s but then sat sadly vacant throughout the 1980s and early '90s. In 1995, due in part to the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program, the deteriorated Coliseum Theater underwent rehabilitation and its interior spaces were adapted for use as a clothing store. Today the Coliseum Theater is a very effective adaptive use project that dramatically illustrates the successful marriage of commerce and historic preservation.

The Coliseum Theater is located at the corner of Fifth Ave. and Pike St. The building is open to the public during regular business hours.

Coliseum Theater Coliseum Theater
Photograph by Fred Housel, courtesy of the architectural firm NBBJ of Seattle

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