7th Street Theatre

313 7th Street,
Hoquiam, WA 98550

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KenLayton on January 28, 2007 at 1:22 pm

I agree 100% Ron.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on January 28, 2007 at 11:18 am

Ken: Yes I’ve heard the HVAC on the roof, their was no problem when the theatre was heated with steam, and you are right that the people who want stage shows are calling the shots. One of the problems with the 7th st in reguards to stage shows is that the stage house is to small. Most old theaters that have been re-opened as performing art centers have enlarged their stage houses. If this is what they want to do they need to tear down the back wall of the stage and build out on the vacant property behind the theatre. (They already own the extra land). This would double the size of the stage and allow for modern stage productions. (The Paramount in Seattle did this). As the theatre now stands their audience is dwindling and the place will eventually close again with the asumption that Hoquiam can not sustain a historic arts center. I feel that this is NOT true but there needs to be a drastic change in attitudes at the 7th st. Upgrading the working end of the operation is important but customer comforts come first! And to answer your other question, no they did not move the projection equip.

KenLayton on January 26, 2007 at 7:53 pm

Also, the bathrooms are sorely neglected and really in need of major repairs.

KenLayton on January 26, 2007 at 7:50 pm


Did they move the projectors too? Or are they still in the original projection booth? Sounds to me like the ‘faction’ that wanted stage shows must have won out over the calmer heads that wanted movies done right. I’ve been squaking for several years that they need to fix the ceiling and do something about those “hard-as-a-rock” seats!

The acoustics there were already fine without a $90,000 sound system. Have you heard the rumbling from the new HVAC unit on the roof? When it’s running it reverberates throughout the whole auditorium. Sounds just like somebody running a Coleman generator inside the building.

It’s a pity that a nice place like this is being ruined by incompetence.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on January 26, 2007 at 7:16 pm

OK I’ve just been to the 7th st and took a look at thier $90,000.00 sound system, and their new light and sound booth. What a huge screw up! First I don’t know what they were thinking putting the booth in the middle of the auditorium for everyone to see and second they got TOOK on the system! This is a Historic building and their has been NO restoration of any of the public area’s. The new dressing rooms are very nice but that does not bring in an audience. The price of the sound system would have re-plastered the cieling. The carpet is in pieces being held together with duct tape and there isn’t even Hot water in the restrooms! (No hot water heater) This is an atmospheric theater and now there are 7 large black JBL speakers hanging from the cieling (Sky). Not to mention they have totaly screwed the movie sound by running everything thru the new amps and having the movie sound come out of the cieling in an effort to eliminate the back stage speakers! Their movie’s make them money and their live performances lose money, people complain that it’s cold inside because the NEW heating system does not work properly and the list goes on and on. The Parks dept said not to alter the theater and so did a couple of architects, but the egoes in charge just don’t want to listen! I have 20 years in theater operations and the direction that the 7th st is heading in is nothing short of criminal. Yes the roof was replaced and some of the main wiring but there is so much that needs to be done spending $90K on an unneeded 40 channel sound system was wrong. I’ve also been told that there is a good chance that this system is so large that it will prove to be worthless in this building. The 7th st has naturally occuring perfect accoustics, a person talking on stage can be heard in the last row with almost no amplification. Hoquiam has one of the few remaining intact atmospheric movie theatres. This is especially true because this theatre is located in a very small town yet it has never been remodeled and even has the original seats. The only changes have been projection equip. carpet and stage drapes. All the experts who have viewed the place say that it should be preserved as an example of a small town theatre dating from 1928. And any moderizations should be done in a way that the public spaces are not compromised. Unfortunatly this is not what’s happening! At some point all these things can be undone but it always costs more to put things back, especially when the changes being made are unnessesary. If it ain’t broke don’t “fix” it.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on March 6, 2006 at 1:44 pm

a-men to that, the only problem now is that they don’t want to use the booth. They have their lighting board set-up in the middle of the auditorium and there are those who don’t think they should have to move it. Some think that the paying audience should work around the crew not the other way. But there are a few people who are trying to get things set up correctly.

KenLayton on March 2, 2006 at 8:08 pm

The stage show ‘faction’ of the group carved up the wall of the projection booth because they wanted to make it their “lighting and computer control” booth. Now with that huge picture window in that front wall all kinds of noise and extreneous light get out in the audience.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on March 2, 2006 at 3:16 pm

Thanks, just curious. Was also wondering why the new projection and view windows were cut into the booth. I would have thought that the updated projection equipment could have been installed using the old ports and preserving the original look of the booth. I have seen many restored theaters that have installed newer equipment and not altered the outward appearance of the auditorium. Those working in the booth also wonder why the original console was removed. It housed the switches for the curtain and masking motors as well as the lighting controls. I know the dimmers did not work and needed restoring but I think that cleaning and some new brushes would have done the job. The picture is very nice and the sound is excellent when a modern film is shown, taking full advantage of the stereo and surround.

KenLayton on March 1, 2006 at 8:38 pm

That machine and the lamphouse parts were partial payment (along with some money) by the 7th St to me and my friend the late Paul Thompson in exchange for us installing their ‘new’ projection equipment in their theater. This was authorized by Matt Hershfelder at the theater.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on March 1, 2006 at 2:43 pm

Yes I asked about the projectors and was told that 1 of the e-7’s was gone. The person I spoke with did not know where it had gone to, just that it was no longer in the theater. I did not know that parts were taken off the other lamphouse that is in storage. I am curious why they let one of the projector heads go along with parts from the peerless mag-n-arc. Will have to inquire as to there motive.

KenLayton on March 1, 2006 at 5:34 am


I know for a fact that at least one of those E-7’s went to Wisconsin as I helped load it into the car. We stripped some good parts off one of the carbon arc lamphouses and took those parts too. They had one complete E-7 setup in the lobby.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on February 28, 2006 at 2:30 pm

Just visited the 7th st again and took them about an hours worth of old previews most of which were for films dating from 1976 to 1990. They like to show older previews before the film and were having trouble finding material. Also included some old service announcements and daters, some of them dating from the 1950’s thru the 1980’s. Things are coming along nicely, the place is looking better all the time. I do feel that they should be showing more films when the theater is dark with no live shows booked, but these things take time. All in all just being open is good.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on January 10, 2006 at 2:40 pm

I was at the 7th st again and want to report that the old projection equipment that was removed is still at the 7th st. The Simplex E7 projectors, RCA Photophone soundheads and the Perlees Mac-n-Arc lamps have not been sold and are in storage in the theater. One complete projector is set up and on display in the lobby. It brings back a lot of fond memories as I enjoyed using that equipment and others like it in the other Harbor theaters. I have always felt that the old manual way of projecting a movie was preferable to the modern automation. The old way allowed for a little showmanship, automation generally doesn’t. I’ve done both, and find platters and automation to be rather souless.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on October 17, 2005 at 5:49 pm

Was at the 7th St last week for a screening of North by Northwest, great movie in a great theater. Things are getting better, but they have a long way to go. Although it is good to see people coming out for movies there again. They have a very good picture and sound, especially their SCOPE picture.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 13, 2005 at 4:38 pm

I’m glad to hear that the E7’s are being used while they were very old they were good machines. I have the original manuals for those proj. heads and all the equip used at the 7th st. D&R, Aberdeen and Harbor Drive-In. As for the 7th st. “seeing the light” there are those who are trying to improve things but it is an uphill battle. As Katie stated the people who run the theater have good intentions but they are not “Theater people” and that is the big chalange. But things are getting better although there have been some serious errors made in how things have been done at the 7th st. ie: the large hole in the booth wall.

kateymac01 on September 13, 2005 at 1:30 pm

People in Hoquiam want this theater to succeed … but mostly as a home for live shows. And that’s too bad. As Ken says, I wish they could “see the light” about what a good movie theater can be. As the posts on the Cinema Treasures sites for the Aberdeen and the D & R point out, there’s a huge void for movie lovers in the Grays Harbor area. (Well, there are a lot of voids in a lot of areas in the Grays Harbor region, but I won’t get started on that …) It would be a blessing if the 7th Street could be used for both live shows and movies, and it sounds like maybe there are some steps being taken to improve that balance. YAY!

KenLayton on September 13, 2005 at 12:49 pm

The E-7’s that were there are now in a private screening room in Wisconsin and they’ve been completely rebuilt & painted to brand new condition.

When I installed that “new” (to them) equipment at the 7th Street, it looked like it was one of those ‘left hand didn’t know what the right hand was doing’ groups. Nobody knew what was going on and they carved a huge picture window in the projection booth front wall. Light gets out everywhere in the auditorium when running movies now. Nobody knew how to run a projector, let alone the platter. Perhaps they will see the ‘light’ and learn what real movies & showmanship is all about. Movies can be an important part of keeping the doors open. If people get a bad presentation they’ll never come back. They’ll certainly tell their friends of the bad experience too.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 12, 2005 at 7:25 am

The “new” equipment I was referring to is the equipment you installed. Which is new compared to the Simplex e7, RCA photophone soundheads and Peerless Magna-Arc lamphouses I used when I was a projectionist there in the early 1980’s. They now also have a real projectionist, Mark Richey, who is trying to teach the people who run the theater what showing a movie is all about. Mark ran the D&R booth for many years befor it closed. The 7th street staff saw no need for screen masking, or using the curtain. There is a contigent at the 7th street who feel the theater should be a live venue only and movies are treated as 2nd class.

KenLayton on September 12, 2005 at 6:43 am

You mean they replaced all the projection equipment I installed for them two years ago? We put in Simplex XL projector, Simplex SH-1000 soundhead, Strong X60c (3000 watts) lamphouse & power supply, Simplex pedestal, SPECO platter and a Dolby CP50 sound system. This was all the equipment they purchased from the Liberty Theater in Puyallup, Washington. I know they traded in the CP-50 system for a brand new Dolby Digital setup. They had bought all that other projection equipment and had me install it for them. They have idiots running the projection booth so it wouldn’t surprise me if they damaged/ruined something. I told them years ago they needed new seating ASAP. The seats they have now are literally falling apart and hard as rocks. Bad seating drives away many customers and they never tell you about it.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 12, 2005 at 6:12 am

The restoration is coming along, all of the projection equipment has been replaced along with the stage lighting. The theater is working at getting the auditorium cieling re-plastered as there are many large holes due to prior roof leaks. Also they are looking at replacing the original seating and new carpet. The old seating is all wood except for 2 rows of loge seats and the water did a lot of damage. The old carpet is thread bare, in some places held togather with duct tape. It all takes time and money. When they are finished this will be a very nice and comfortable performance venue.

KenLayton on September 6, 2005 at 4:32 am

The theater is now equipped with Dolby Digital sound for movies.

teecee on May 17, 2005 at 6:02 am

Old & newer photos:
View link

ghamilton on March 7, 2005 at 4:13 pm

I was forced to stay overnight at a ratty motel there in 1981.No cable in the flee-bitten hole,so I went to the theater.What a treat!This place was/is a real gem,especially considering the size of the town.I think it was Bear Island I saw.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on December 31, 2004 at 11:53 pm

The 7th St was built for Ed Dolan of D&R Theaters Inc. Construction was in 1928. The theater is vertually intact with the only changes over the years being carpet and stage drapery. The original lobby furnishings are all gone except for 1 red spanish styled sofa. The lobby is beautifull with many wood beams and muraled cieling. The auditorium walls resemble spanish garden walls and the night sky above. The seating capacity is 1000. The house lights are hidden on the top of the garden walls. The original lighting system would re-create the setting sun with the lighting going from white thru yellow, orange, red then to soft blue to simulate night. There was originally a pipe organ to accompany the silent films and vaudeville was also presented on a regular basis. There is a large stage house and many dressing rooms. In speaking to one of the old projectionists I learned that, during the 1920’s they would sometimes show the same film at both the D&R in Aberdeen and the 7th St. To accomplish this they would start the film at the D&R then as each reel of film would end they would give it to an employee to drive it to Hoquiam to the 7th St., as long as there were no traffic problems or any bridges going up for river boats the film would arrive just in time and the audience would be none the wiser. Scary! The theater is thankfully today being restored as there is a lot of damage from water. The roof has been replaced along with many of the buildings systems. Films are again being shown at the 7th St. along with live performances. Hoquiam has a fine piece of movie history.

Ashley on January 15, 2003 at 12:27 pm

I am commenting about the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam, I was really upset and hurt when adventuring this information. My great-great grandfather Olaf Taylor an architect, was the planner and helped built this magnificent piece of art. If you don’t believe me look anywhere, I think you need to research more before saying anything, Olaf Taylor designed this building in the early 1900’s and spent a great deal of money into it as well, please add this information to who this architect is , because it truly hurt me and my family to find that his name isn’t even named as what he did, and for your information his name is in big print labeled as the architect inside the building and also in front of the building. If you have any questions please e-mail me back I’ll be glad to answer any one might have. Thank you for your time