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So what is this space now?
Ron, I love that site! I’d never been to it before. It’s great to see Grays Harbor’s history in photos.
Lost Memory: I am looking of that photo of the Wayne and wondering what’s been covered up by boards. Did that say “Cinema”?
And, Spencer, I forgot to add: I love your memories of Lewis & Clark. I wish I could’ve experienced that movie-going experience.
Spencer … The Palomar is on here; it’s just listed under the Rex — the last name it went by.
I see Mark Campbell’s comments above, and I am assuming the old theater cannot compete with the sparkling new 16-screen, stadium seating one across the way. Thus, they decided to go discount — something we’re seriously lacking in the Tacoma/Federal Way area. All shows are $2, except on Tuesdays when all shows are $1. My husband and I went to a movie there right after the changeover. It is a very bare bones experience — just one line into the theater to buy tickets, one line to buy concessions. I think there were three or four people total working in the lobby. (The ticket booth is not being used.) The theater we were in was kind of in disrepair. The coverings had been taken off one wall, and it looked like seats or a curtain were piled up in front of the screen. That was a little creepy for some reason. But I would go back. $2 is nothing to see a movie, especially when it’s something I want to see and didn’t make it in the film’s first-run days. I was surprised to see that the indie-hit “Waitress” is playing there right now.
It was the AMC style of the early 1980s. The AMC Narrows Plaza in Tacoma is a dead ringer, although it does not have the movie star mural in the lobby.
This theater makes a little cameo in “Evan Almighty.”
This is now Underhills Furniture Store.
This theater’s Web site is www.vashontheater.com
I did some sleuthing … It is still six screens. One of the screens is “currently down for repairs.”
Is this now 5 screens? Their Web site makes it seem so: www.valleydriveins.com
When was it built? When did it stop being a theater? I thought I knew all the theaters in Grays Harbor, but I am unfamiliar with this one.
It is becoming a gym. The (Tacoma) News Tribune ran a big story on Jan. 31. The theater has been gutted.
Here’s a link to the story:
So, it looks like the place has been gutted. An addition of some sort is being built next to it. I think the building’s days at a movie theater are done.
So, Jason, what’s the plan for the building? Movies?
There has been some activity happening around here — lights on, back door open. I heard rumors that someone is going to be using the space, but I don’t know if it’s as a theater. Fingers crossed.
The News Tribune — www.thenewstribune.com — ran a big story about Lakewood’s past and present on Sunday. A lot of the focus was on the theater — its condition, its current status, the possibility of a buyer. Here’s a link to the story …
Did this theater ever show movies? I had researched it before and thought it was only a venue for live shows. (Then again, like a lot of theaters from that era, it probably did both …)
I just discovered that this theater closed TEMPORARILY in December for repairs. It had to close for noncompliance building issues. A bunch of volunteers stepped up to help operator Joel Thomson get the theater into compliance. The theater is expected to reopen this month. Fingers crossed!
There is a GREAT letter to the editor in today’s News Tribune:
Lakewood, unite to save landmark theater
by Christine Gould, Lakewood
Published: February 28th, 2006
As a 40-year resident of Lakewood, it breaks my heart seeing the Lakewood Theater disintegrate year after year before my very eyes.
While I realize this edifice is in desperate need of repair and building code upgrades, I do not understand why the citizens of Lakewood havenâ€™t rallied together in order to save such an important part of our local history. Surely, the Norton Clapp family who opened the Lakewood Center in 1937 is as saddened as I am watching this historically significant structure deteriorate.
There are many families who have resided in Lakewood as long as I who have the financial means to contribute toward such a worthy cause. Even though many of us less fortunate souls struggle to make ends meet, individually we could each find a few dollars to spare in an effort to save our wonderful theater.
Look how popular the Tacoma Grand Cinema has become in the last few years; it is refreshing to see unusual movies not normally shown at the â€œbig boxâ€ chains. We, too, could have our own version of the Grand, one that would help revitalize Colonial Center and give our city a â€œheartâ€ once again.
My friends at the paper couldn’t find me copies of photos, but they could find me this information:
10501 DAVISSON RD. S.W., Lakewood (original address)
Built: Â 1969
Notes: Â Villa Plaza Cinema I & II
General Cinema Corp., builder
opened 7/1/1969 with “The April Fools” starring Jack Lemmon
The stories from the paper ran the following dates with the following headlines:
TNT 6/18/1969 2-in-1 cinema to have only one manager
TNT 7/1/1969 p.47 New theater opens tonight at Villa Plaza
I will have to go through old microfiche to find photos and complete story text.
The ad shown at this link — View link — says the theater had “1,000 seats all on one floor” when it opened.
FYI: The screen/sign are gone, and construction has begun on the new Lowes store. I couldn’t believe how sad it made me to not see that screen as I drove down Interstate 5.
I have some connections at the paper. I’ll see what I can find about that photo. That would be awesome.