Fox Theater

1005 W. Sprague Avenue,
Spokane, WA 99201

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Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 2, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Featured in this 1936 trade ad in Spanish for Yorke air-conditioning systems:

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on March 4, 2007 at 4:07 pm

This is a 7/20/2006 article about the Fox Theater.

“Renovating beauty: Theater’s sun is without its stars at onset of Fox reconstruction.

The Spokesman-Review
Byline: Mike Prager

Jul. 20—A large central sunburst chandelier still hangs from the ceiling of Spokane’s historic Fox Theater. Also intact are elaborate murals, plaster ornamentation and even the original painted fire safety screen at the stage opening. But nine small chandeliers representing the stars of the universe are missing. They once hung above the balcony at the rear of the theater. The people who are in charge of a $22 million Fox renovation say they would like to have at least one of the chandeliers back. “If we can find one, we can replicate them,” said Betsy Godlewski, development director for the Fox Theater organization. Godlewski said Wednesday that the chandeliers may have been removed when the theater was converted into a tri-plex movie house in the 1970s.

She suspects that some were moved to new locations and that their current owners might be willing to donate them back to the theater.

At least two historic photographs show the missing chandeliers, but neither of the photos provides enough visual detail to make replicas.

Also missing from the building are a series of other light fixtures that decorated the north vestibule and lobby area, as well as sofas and tables with chairs that lined the lobby. “They were just amazingly beautiful,” Godlewski said of the missing furnishings. Many of the floor-level decorations have been covered with foam to protect them during the work, and the theater’s ornate ceilings and walls are scheduled for restoration during final stages of construction. The most dramatic fixture of all — the massive 60-foot-wide sunburst chandelier — remains securely fastened just in front of the stage. It is the focal point of an ornate plaster ceiling that hangs from the roof by scores of wires. It turns out that the most difficult task in the restoration will be keeping the plaster ceiling and sunburst chandelier in place during installation of a new heating and cooling system. That system must go inside a 20-foot-high attic space without disturbing the ceiling. The job will involve putting steel support structures into the attic to hold the new equipment. Construction Superintendent Dennis Snyder of Walker Construction of Spokane said he plans to install a new concrete floor first and then erect massive scaffolding inside the seating area to hold the entire theater ceiling in place during installation of the new cooling equipment. From a contractor’s perspective, Snyder said, “That’s the heart and soul of this project, what’s going on above this ceiling.” Snyder said he doesn’t want to risk cutting a hole in the roof because any unexpected rain could damage the plaster, murals and furnishings. Instead, he said workers will probably cut a hole over the projection booth at the rear of the theater and move new steel and equipment into the theater by crane. The new heating and cooling system will replace an early-day air conditioning system that, in its time, added to the allure of the 1931 theater. Movie theaters such as the Fox were erected at a quick pace — as many as 400 to 500 a year — as the popularity of film swept the country, a consultant said in May. William Fox of Fox West Coast Studios, later to become 20th Century Fox, presided over construction of nearly 280 Fox theaters around the country, using teams of designers and artisans in each city. Fox theaters in Atlanta, St. Louis and Stockton, Calif., are among those that have been restored.

The Fox motif in Spokane is derived from a Hollywood interpretation of art deco style, which was a distillation of modernist and art nouveau movements in Europe in the late 1800s. The theater’s Dutch-born designer, Anthony Heinsbergen, combined the flowing classical forms of art nouveau with the rectilinear geometry commonly associated with art deco in the United States. Six years ago, the Fox was saved from demolition when 900 donors gave $1.1 million to a Save the Fox fund. State lawmakers have appropriated $6 million for restoration through the Fox Theater organization, a nonprofit affiliated with the Spokane Symphony. Another $9 million has been raised through other public and private sources. More donations and tax credits are being sought. The original construction, at $1 million, included a full-height stage house, orchestra pit, dressing rooms and movie screen to accommodate different types of entertainment. When the current project is completed in late 2007, the reconfigured theater will have 1,725 seats and will become the new home for the Spokane Symphony and a venue for regional performing groups".

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on March 1, 2007 at 9:42 pm

What a great building! I am continually amazed. Every time I think I know ‘em all another one shows up.

kencmcintyre on March 1, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Problems in September 1969. Note that the officers had to see the movie twice before taking action:

‘I Am Curious’ Disappears

SPOKANE (AP) – The motion picture “I Am Curious (Yellow)“ disappeared abruptly from the screen of the Fox Theater here Friday, just hours after a superior court judge declared the film obscene. The theater was closed when Spokane County Pros. Atty. Donald C. Brockett and a police inspector went to the theater Friday evening to view the controversial motion picture again with the intention of possibly seizing the film and arresting theater officials.

Brockett and Inspector Thomas O'Brien said they had nothing to do with the closure of the film. Theater officials were unavailable for comment. A few hours before, Superior Court Judge John Lally ruled the picture was legally obscene under the nebulous guidelines set down by the U.S. Supreme Court. At the same time, the judge denied Brockett’s request for an order to seize the film. Lally ruled he had no such authority, but noted the prosecuting attorney could obtain the film through an arrest since the film had been declared obscene following a court hearing.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on January 13, 2007 at 4:50 pm

Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001

Fox Theater (added 2001 – Building – #01001287)
1005 W. Sprague Ave., Spokane
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering, Event
Architect, builder, or engineer:, Reamer, Robert Chamber
Architectural Style: Art Deco
Area of Significance: Entertainment/Recreation, Architecture
Period of Significance: 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Recreation And Culture
Historic Sub-function: Theater
Current Function: Recreation And Culture
Current Sub-function: Theater

William on May 4, 2006 at 10:52 pm

The Fox Theatre in Spokane was operated by Evergreen State Amusement Corp., which was one of the subsidiaries of National Theatres and later became National General Theatres which was originally part of Fox Theatres.

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on May 4, 2006 at 9:37 pm

Here is a recent photo of the Fox Theater in Spokane.

teecee on May 17, 2005 at 2:17 pm

Old photos & history:
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